Sarah Coleman: Listen like a dog
July 13, 2017
A wise woman once told me that we only listen in order to respond, anxiously waiting our turn to speak. How, then, can we really ever understand, have compassion or actually hear what a person is saying?
Here are a few tips from a girl's best friend — the ever loyal, ever compassionate, best floppy ears out there, Fido! I cannot take full credit for this novel idea and must give some credit to the book, “How to Listen Like a Dog.”
Here is how:
• Make eye contact: Ever notice when you talk to the dog, he can't take his eyes of you? He hangs on every word hoping you drop a small piece of food or scratch behind his ears. Try this the next time someone tells you a story. Dedicate your focus to their face and really take in the whole story through their eyes. Try to maintain this for the duration of the story without letting your eyes wander to other things. You will be amazed at how much more you absorb.
• Listen without judgment: That sweet dog of yours never judges you or compares you to other people. What a great idea. The next time a friend needs an open ear and mind, try to listen without judgment. Take it all in without mentioning yourself, anyone else or the better behaved dog next door.
• Don't interrupt: This might be the most important one of all. Just listen. Don't talk. Just listen. Then, listen a little more. Try not to interrupt until the conversation asks for it. Just try it. I mean, if the dog can do it, why can't you?
• Give positive reinforcement: We all need a little encouragement no matter what. Try positive feedback without talking. Nodding your head, wagging your tail, smiling. It can really enhance the listening experience and, even better, the speaker's experience.
• Don't multitask: This is a tough one. We pride ourselves on being able to do many things at once.
I challenge you to try one thing at a time especially when listening. Just listen. Don't text, don't talk to someone else, just listen. See if it carries over into other aspects of your life. A dog really only has a once track mind. Eat, sleep, pee, repeat. Can it really be that simple?
P.S. Keep this little tidbit in mind, when the dog nudges you to go outside and play, maybe listen a little extra, and get out there and do something awesome with your furry friend.
Sarah Coleman brings years of personal health and fitness knowledge to the table. Currently, the health and wellness director at The Foundry, Coleman is a personal trainer, “CrossFitter” coach, outdoor enthusiast, managing partner with Inspired Live Network and owner of A Weight Lifted Fitness Camp. She provides flawless technique and a positive attitude. Taking fitness to new levels, she uses the outdoor environment, your living room or work space, as well as the gym to influence and push her clientele. Funky knee socks and outrageous colors make Sarah unique, which transfers into her training and brings a smile to everyone’s face.