Why Is It So Hard for Me to Listen?

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“Because I have hearing loss.” That would be the simplest way to answer my question.

For years, I have struggled with taking the time to listen when others are talking with me. If a friend has a problem and needs a listening ear, I can focus for a minute or two, and then my mind wanders. I wonder what my kids are up to, what to cook for dinner, what I am supposed to do with the rest of my life… Should I make spaghetti or tacos for dinner? Should I start a new career or keep being strictly a Lipreading Mom? All of these things flow through my mind in the span of five minutes.

Can you relate?

If I can’t listen to my friend, how on earth can I focus on the stack of books I always carry?

As I sit at the library typing this blog post, I glance at the stack of books beside me. Four of them are about sewing, one is a biography. How on earth I’ll be able to read all of them with my three kids at home for the summer, I’ll never know. And I always do this: check out more books at a time than I can read. My mind is filled to the brim with written material, and I can’t focus on a single word.

Could this be my answer?

This morning, I read a blog post by Author Angela Reed Meyer. It’s all about how the busyness of our days makes it difficult to listen, especially to God. Ouch.

Maybe this is my answer?

If you are like Lipreading Mom, you carry a stack of books every day. Not literary books. More like life stuff: Work. Family. Errands. Worries.

I’ve made up my mind. After finishing this blog post, I am putting every book back on their library shelves, accept one… one book to focus on at a time. I’ll pick the biography.

Today, I am inspired to put a few things back on the shelf and focus on listening to the person across from me. And to God.

I need to be quiet.

Now it’s time for Lipreading Mom to listen to you.

What ways have you been inspired to slow down? Focus more? Listen to others?

Share your thoughts below. I promise to sit back and listen to what you say.

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26 thoughts on “Why Is It So Hard for Me to Listen?

  1. I do relate. I think mostly it’s because I don’t hear all of what is being said so I start to tune out, think about things I need or would rather be doing or should be doing. I also find that “active” listening is so, so hard on my energy – it requires focus which is so tiring. Sigh.

  2. Thank you, Shanna, for the reminder to focus and listen. One of the ways I slow down is to guard my Sabbath. Except for church – absolutely no other activities on Sunday other than napping, reading and maybe a TV movie.

  3. There are lots of reasons for the HoH to be poor listeners. One is that it is difficult to hear and it takes so much work that attentive listening is exhausting. I find signing much easier, despite having had to learn a new language to do it. But there are not a lot of signers where I am, so I am relegated to listening. Or texting. Texting is great!

    However, listening, like anything else, can be learned. After working for many years as a social worker I learned to hang on every word someone spoke. It could be the answer to the mystery of why they got hung up on abusive partners or be the key to helping them to not repeat life errors or to celebrate positive changes. Also, I got to the point I listened so hard I could write notes virtually verbatim after the session – not that I did, as that would have been TMI.

    The joy of listening with everything you’ve got is that you can reflect back to the person and let them know they’re really being heard. Sometimes that is the most important thing we can do for a person. Usually, they’re not looking for an answer, they’re looking for a shoulder to lean on. Isn’t it a relief when someone can paraphrase what we said? We know they’re both listening and understood us.

    I admit there are times when someone is simply blathering that I tune out. If I’ve heard the same story several times before and nothing has changed – the person is still living the same old drama – then I don’t need to listen. However, depending on my role (friend vs professional) I may address the issue. If you’re doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result that is one of the hallmarks of dysfunction.

    I tend to read the same way I listen. I give it my all. That’s because I was severely dyslexic as a child. When I finally learned to read I was so thrilled I threw myself into it. And being HoH I don’t have the same distractions as others do. I know there is a distant storm only because the wee little doggie tells me about it by being nervous.

    BTW, I’ve got about 20 years of reading material just on the Kindle. That doesn’t include my reference books. And I also write almost daily. But I am getting older now. I presently live with friends in Vermont and commune with nature, two cats and one dog. I walk daily – several times a day – with the wee little doggie and on those walks I do my best to live the experience (another way of paying attention). I hope to move to Baja California (el Norte) this fall and hope to continue living a life of paying attention to whatever comes my way.

    Namaste!

  4. This was a great read for today. As another Hard of Hearing mom I find myself at home with my kids which I love but I need more. I need to get back into the workforce but doing what. I need to sit back and pray, meditate and listen to God and my inner self of what I need in my life. I know there will be limitations, I can’t talk on a phone all day at work etc…but there has to be something. Thank you for the reminder I need to just remember to listen to my heart and my prayers of what is next in my and my families life.

  5. Oh, I love this question. I lost my hearing 11 months ago, and with some vision loss as well, I am no longer able to work. So in one fell swoop I lost my job, my independence, and my hearing. And ironically, I feel like I have become a better listener as a result. The forced slow-down has been a huge blessing, as it allows me time to “be” with the people I love, and to listen with my heart and mind (as I read what they have to say).

  6. I’ve been reading books that address this topic. I have copious amounts of notes from three books.

    But the one that I read last night said: “Presence is wisdom.” As in, being fully engaged in the one person or one activity that you are living at That Moment. Because if we cannot appreciate That Moment that God gave us, then we are not respecting that gift.

    This author has opened my eyes on several related topics. ( easy to suggest; harder to achieve). Richard Rohr is the author.

    • @VeganDee – After looking into the book you suggested, I realize I have already read portions of it when I checked it out at a local library. Perhaps I need to read the entire book to get its full meaning. Ah, the dilemma of checking out too many library books at one time. 🙂

      • If you read “Everything Belongs,” you may get hooked and stay up too late on several nights in a row. I have a feeling you will like Richard Rohr’s message. Better still, I believe you will UNDERSTAND his message. 😉

  7. I agree with collecting too many books. I have numerous bird books, but don’t ask me how many of them I actually sit down and read.
    As for the Lord, He is the one I also try to spend my time listening to with my “heart ears” and through reading His Word.
    Lord Bless.

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