How Can Physical Attending Benefit Your Relationships:
Have you ever tried to have a meaningful conversation with someone, but he keeps interrupting you with comments, or she keeps checking her phone? Have you ever felt that even when the other person is “listening” they still aren’t hearing what the meaning or emotion is behind what you are saying? While you may not be able to control whether or not someone is caring about what you have to say, you can still be an example of physical attending in a conversation.
Physical attending is a technical term often referred to as “active listening.”
Physical attending is a technical term that can be referred to as active or deep listening. The objective behind physical attending is to reduce communication barriers and elicit a productive conversation with friends, family, clients, and co-workers. Deep listening is listening to more than just words, it is listening for a feeling behind the words. It is a silent response to what a person is saying, although verbal responses can be appropriate if they are simply to indicate further your understanding and comprehension of what they are telling you.
This skill is exhibited by listening with direct eye contact, a relaxed posture, and facial expressions that show caring. If you do so choose to say something to demonstrate that you understand what they are saying, responses like “Oh, I see” and “tell me about that” are appropriate.
When you are listening deeply, you are completely present in the situation. It should go without saying, but this means that you don’t look at your phone or the people around you, you don’t even look at other parts of the person’s face, only their eyes. Obviously, this might depend on the general culture of the individual who is talking as they may view constant direct eye contact as aggressive or uncomfortable, so be careful to keep that in mind. It also means avoiding hand gestures and postures that indicate that you don’t want to listen to what they are saying. Usually, this means keeping your hands folded in your lap or otherwise in a comfortable position.
Why is this relevant to the goal of serenity or peace?
Attending skills contribute to the overall well-being of your relationships. It also promotes deeper connectedness, both of which are part of a balanced life.
Using physical attending in your daily life may guide you to understanding those around you more fully, which may also help with communication barriers you had previously experienced. Ultimately, deep listening is not the end goal; it is the means to an end of achieving greater peace in your life and more meaningful relationships. It does take practice, but eventually, you may be able to see an improvement in feeling connected with those around you.
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