Scripted responses irritate me. “I hear you” seems to be a popular response when concerns are expressed, just as “I believe in you” is a popular response when expressing concerns about ability or goals.
Not listening irritates me also. Sometimes you just know that you are talking, and the person you are talking to is only hearing you – maybe – and definitely not listening. There is a difference – it’s not just semantics. Look up the definitions – hearing is simply the awareness that sound is occurring. It is a passive activity. When I am told “I hear you” – what I understand is that you are aware that I said something – not that you have actually attempted to understand. Listening is an active process that includes understanding, or seeking to understand the intent of the message. It is usually an interactive process.
“I believe in you” is kind of like the difference between hearing and listening. Consider the source…is it someone you trust to have the knowledge to make that statement? Is it someone who is saying it because they feel it is expected of them? It is almost as trite as the overuse of the word love.
When someone expresses a concern, it is worthy of listening and honesty. We listened to the song “Rainy Day People”, and I realized I want more rainy day people around me. The ones who listen until they’ve heard it all, respond with empathy, and mean what they say.
Lately, I’ve had this message presented in so many forms that I am paying attention. I am aware of how this makes me feel when it happens to me – and am using this as a lesson for working on my listening skills and the way I respond to others. Instead of trotting out the “I believe in you” bit, maybe focusing on finding out why that person doesn’t believe in oneself – after all, that is what matters most.
More opportunities to work on grace…