The Power of Literal Listening: Take the Stress Out of Communication



“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ~Ernest Hemingway

If I’m honest, I don’t think I listened to another person until I was in my thirties. I wasn’t really listening, not completely. It’s not that I’m super selfish or vain; I was just so busy doing the mental gymnastics that I thought I had to do to keep up in conversations that I missed what was actually being said to me.

I grew up in a family where it felt like nearly everything that was said had another, unspoken meaning. I remember feeling really confused as a child, not sure why the things that were said to other people were so different from what I’d heard in private and why what was said was not always what ultimately happened.

There was definitely an element of “do as I say and no as I do” in there, but it was more than that too. It was like there was a hint of secrecy underneath those conversations. Even though I couldn’t articulate it or understand it at the time, I certainly remember that I felt it, and that it had a big impact on me.

I often felt like there was something else that wasn’t being said, and that if I could just figure out what that something was, all the pieces would fit together and everything would finally make sense.

This created so m…

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