This semester in grad school, I have been taking a class on listening. I never had a chance to take a listening class before so I was wondering what it would be like. At the beginning, I was inwardly hostile to the idea of learning how to improve my listening. I felt as though I did plenty of work already being hard of hearing and struggling to hear what other people said. Thank you very much! In fact, I had structured much of my day around not having to listen. I found sustained listening tired me out and gave me headaches.
My teacher has given me an entirely new perspective on listening. She says that to be able to listen to others you have to listen to yourself first. She calls that intrapersonal communication. This was a new term to me and something I did not learn about when I got my undergraduate degree in communications twenty-five years ago.
My teacher told us that trust is a gift you give to yourself. I have not been in the habit of trusting myself or validating my internal thoughts and feelings. I had always been taught to put others' needs and opinions ahead of my own. But in this class, I learned about standing in your personal power, paying attention to what you actually experience in your life, and creating the life you want through your thoughts and words. My teacher said, "Patience is the crux of listening. Be patient with yourself then others. To care about another person can often be expressed best through listening. To care about yourself can also be best expressed by listening."
I realized that until now I have been deaf to myself.