When telling young children to listen, sometimes we tell them to put on their “listening ears.” But when we’re adults, no one tells us that anymore. We have to tell ourselves to put on our listening ears.
There are times when I don’t want to listen to someone, or I don’t think to really listen. I hear them talking and I think I’m listening, but unless I actively engage and try to listen, I’m usually not actually listening. While I don’t usually think of the phrase “listening ears,” I do need to remember to actively listen.
Sometimes I need to remember that listening is more than just the words I hear. Sometimes listening means I need to hear and heed what is underneath those words. I need to listen to tone, facial expression, and body language. Sometimes there is more to a conversation than what is being said, so I need to listen.