Have you ever noticed that usually, while listening to a conversation between two or more people, it seems as though they are unable to hear what the other says? One expresses a concept, and the other continues with his speech such as he had not noticed that the first had said something.
What is the reason for this behaviour? Surely we couldn’t always claim that its cause is a problem of deafness, even if in some situations it could be so. But a sort of deafness exists, and we can witness it in many situations of our life. The worst thing is when we say something, but the other does not perceive or understand that we have said something or what we have stated.
Maybe, at some moment we would consider that almost all our fellow humans are subjected to a sort of deafness, but if it is so, then could it be that even we are affected, in a more or lesser degree, by this same problem?
A further consideration and a little attention, could bring us to the realization that it seems that we are not able to listen to others as well as we usually consider.
How many times do we misunderstand someone’s words? How many times do we interpret some statement in one way- maybe as offensive- and then realize that what we have understood is quite the opposite of what has been said?
Saying to this person “Sorry, I didn’t realize that you had said something” is the least we can do in these situations, especially if we reacted in a stormy way, but this surely doesn’t resolve the problem. Why didn’t we understand what this person said to us? Wrong interpretation? Inability to listen? A feeling of dislike towards that person? Thousands of other reasons? The answer to almost all the possible questions could be yes.
But this could also be summarized in a singular and not very digestible statement: we are unable to listen to others.
If this statement is more or less correct, then what is the reason for this problem?
Probably, we prefer to dedicate ourselves to the interpretation of a speech rather than to pay attention to what is truly said.
You could say, “Oh, Andrea, this time you are exaggerating”. Maybe, but until you can verify if this statement corresponds to reality or not, and if it is real, and to what degree, you’ll be unable to be 100% certain.
In the case that you realized more or less this as real, then there’s a solution for this: learn to listen.
A good way to begin could be this: the next time you listen to a speech, don’t pay attention only to the words said, but also to what lies between the spoken words- silence.
A noise, music, a voice are surrounded by a veil of silence, and this silence is what gives form to the sound. The same thing could be noticed in a form: the most important thing of a physical object is the contour which outlines it. Without the space that surrounds the object, we would be unable to notice its form.
The same happens with sound. That is the reason that, while listening to someone, we have also to put our attention to the gap that surrounds two words.
Silence is not heard with the ears, but with our sensibility. Listening to it, we put ourselves into a deeper relation with the real meaning and intention of what we are listening to.
But even the silence wouldn’t have a meaning without the words that surround it. Silence and sound are complementary; one could not exist without the other or, better said, one could not be noticed by us without the other.
And this is the reason of why persons do not understand one another. By listening only to the words, we lose half of the conversation. We listen to phonemes but not to the deeper meaning that lies behind them, the so- called non- verbal comunication.
And, the more the argument becomes intimate, the more silence becomes important.
The less we listen to the gaps between the words spoken, the more our listening becomes superficial.
And, not understanding someone, is a great loss that sometimes could cost us dearly.