One of the skills I facilitate is how to develop the ability to listen better. When it was taught to me I learned of three levels.  Nothing tricky in the naming; simply level 1, level 2 and level 3.

They are MANY reasons for improving one’s listening ability. One is that is will help you to listen differently to yourself.

 

Silence.

What is it to you?

What does it give you?

How do you respond to it?

When is it “good”, and when is it “bad”? (Yes, these are “labels”.  My guess is that you do use them for silence so I’m running with it).

 

Oxford Dictionary shares that silence is the fact or state of abstaining from speech.

 

For many, silence can be awkward.

My challenge for you today – what is it about the silence that makes YOU feel awkward.

To me that’s the difference.  It’s not the silence that’s awkward, it’s what starts going on inside our minds (individually) when the silence happens. Spoiler alert: you are the one in charge of what is being created in your mind when silence is present.

 

When I figured out that it was me that was awkward versus the silence, things changed.

When I focused on my being/feeling awkward I lost being in the actual moment.

I missed feeling fully.

I missed listening with curiosity.

I missed being open (because I was too busy feeling awkward) to be with what was actual there for me in the conversation, situation and person in front of me.

 

How do you figure this silence thing out.

Ask someone you’re comfortable with to do this exercise with you:

(After they say yes) Stand facing each other, eyes closed.

Breath and find your own center of comfort (take 10-20 seconds to do this).

When you have found it, open your eyes (same for your exercise partner).

Work to come back to the comfort you had with your eyes closed, with your eyes open.

More breathing.

Anchor your feet, feel your presence.

Be there for the other person ( in the silence).

Repeat the exercise until you find the feeling of holding the space of silence for someone else.

 

Being able to be in silence is a gift for all the reasons I just listed above, and more. Being able to be fully presence (without your judgements, assumptions and generalizations flying around in your head) when you’re listening to someone is the difference between interaction and engagement, with a cherry on top ;0)

 

Happy practicing silence Wednesday!