Listen Like a Dog
A wise woman once told me that we only listen in order to respond, anxiously waiting our turn to speak. How, then, can we really ever understand, have compassion, or actually hear what a person is saying? Here are a few tips from a girl’s best friend, the ever loyal, ever compassionate, best floppy ears out there,Fido! I cannot take full credit for this novel idea and must give some credit to the book, How to Listen Like a Dog.
Here is how:
-Make eye contact: Ever notice when you talk to the dog, he can’t take his eyes of you. He hangs on every word hoping you drop a small piece of food or scratch behind his ears. Try this the next time someone tells you a story. Dedicate your focus to their face and really take in the whole story thru their eyes. Try to maintain this for the duration of the story without letting your eyes wonder to other things. You will be amazed at how much more you absorb!
-Listen without judgment: That sweet dog of yours never judges you or compares you to other people. What a great idea. The next time a friend needs an open ear and mind, try to listen without judgment. Take it all in without mentioning yourself, anyone else, or the better behaved dog next door.
-Don’t interrupt: This might be the most important one of all. Just listen. Don’t talk. Just listen. Then, listen a little more. Try not to interrupt until the conversation asks for it. Just try it! I mean, if the dog can do it, why can’t you?!
-Give positive reinforcement: We all need a little encouragement no matter what. Try positive feedback without talking. Nodding your head, wagging your tail, smiling. It can really enhance the listening experience and, even better, the speaker’s experience.
-Don’t multitask: This is a tough one. We pride ourselves on being able to do many things at once. I challenge you to try one thing at a time especially when listing. Just listen. Don’t text, don’t talk to someone else, just listen. See if it carries over into other aspects of your life. A dog really only has a once track mind. Eat, sleep, pee, repeat. Can it really be that simple?!
PS… Keep this little tidbit in mind, when the dog nudges you to go outside and play, maybe listen a little extra, and get out there and do something AWESOME with your furry friend!
“There is no doubt that the ability to listen—to really, authentically listen—is one of the most important qualities of an effective leader, good friend, and successful family member.”
Health and Wellness Director, The Foundry
PersonalTrainer, CrossFitter and Coach, SteamboatCrossFit
Food connoisseur, My kitchen and yours
Owner, A Weight LiftedFitness Camp
Managing Partner, InspiredLife Network