As much as we try not to be, human by nature are judge mental creatures. This isn’t always a bad thing. Judging someone or something as a potential threat can get you out of harms way. Sometimes are judgements are wrong and that’s when being able to acknowledge your error and change your view point is so important.
I mention this because this morning I tried a meditation with a new instructor. I like to mix up my practice as I’ve always been a firm believer that you can learn something from anyone so the more voices you listen to the more opportunity. However, the instructor this morning has a slight speech impediment which I found distracting.
My problem is whenever I hear someone speak with a lisp I immediately think of the late actor Peter Cook in the infamous “Mawage” scene from “The Princess Bride.” When I caught myself doing that this morning I realized I was not only doing this instructor who has most likely spent the majority of her life dealing with an impediment a great disservice, I was also doing myself a disservice.
I was no longer paying full attention to the words she was saying and therefore missing part of her message.
We may have certain biases or prejudices against different accents or manners of speaking. A slow drawl associated with the southern United States may incite a sense of lethargy and a lack of intelligence in some while fast talking individuals may be perceived as untrustworthy charlatans. Sometimes others use specific words or language that is either contrary to how you speak or unfamiliar to you.
If we actively listen to the words that are being spoken rather than how the messenger is delivering them we can gain much more of their meaning and be able to take in the overall message more fully. This is a major component of active or meaningful listening.
The next time you find yourself tuning out while someone is speaking due to the manner in which they are delivering the words challenge yourself to put your biases to the side and attempt to take in the message fully.