Powerful Empathetic Listening

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What is Empathetic listening?

I have heard of mindful listening, but what is empathetic listening? 

Steven R. Covey Author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will help us to get clear on this highly effective tool for learning. I will be paraphrasing Mr. Covey throughout this article. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this amazing book by clicking on the title above.

It is so easy to get distracted nowadays with technology constantly stimulating our brains. It is so easy in life as busy as we all are to skip through and catch only bits and pieces of what others are saying. But are you fully listening? Are you understanding or are you unconsciously out of habit seeking to be understood?  

"Seek First to understand, Than to be understood involves a very deep paradigm shift. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They're either speaking or preparing to speak. They're filtering everything through their own paradigms, reading their own autobiography into other peoples lives."

I personally had to re-evaluate how I am listening and realize a new habit needs to be formed with understanding versus playing the home movie in my head while being in a cloud of scarce listening. My heart is fully involved when listening to others although the habit of the internal chattering dialogue gets in the way of fully understanding what is being said. 

Attentive listening~ paying attention and focusing energy on the words that are being said is still not enough. Empathetic listening (the highest form of listening) is listening with the intent to understand, to really understand. Empathetic (empathy) listening gets inside another person's frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand how they feel. The essence of empathetic listening is not that you agree with someone; it's that you fully, deeply, understand that person, emotionally and intellectually. 

Empathetic listening is so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. Instead of projecting your own autobiography and assuming thoughts, feelings, motives, and interpretations, you're dealing with the reality inside another person's head and heart. You're listening to understand. You're focused on receiving the deep communication of another human soul. 

Human-Kind should be this. Listening to one another and slowing the pace of the partial listening. Miscommunication is typically born from not listening to one another empathetically. In order for all of us to connect at a deeper, truer level we must develop an understanding first rather than seek being understood. 

Spread positivity by starting with YOU first! Seek to understand today. Where your intent goes, your energy flows. 


Surround yourself with positive people that you choose to really listen with your heart wide open!