Practice listening to others in the most literal sense, believing exactly what they say without attaching a future to it, and do your best to resist falling into your own interpretations about the information they share with you.
For example, someone might give you a compliment, and you interpret that to mean that the person has ulterior motives. Our interpretations of what we hear people say to us are often far more painful or frightening than what people actually say. We can hurt ourselves with our misconceptions and our thinking for others.
Try trusting that what they say is exactly what they mean: not more, not less. Hear people out.
Catch yourself when you want to finish a sentence for someone, either aloud or in your mind.
Listen. It can be amazing to hear what comes out when we allow others to complete their thoughts without interruption. And when we are busy thinking we know what they are about to say, we often miss what they are actually saying.
You might want to consider these questions:
- What can be threatened if I listen and hear literally?
- Do I interrupt because I don’t want to really know what people have to say?
- Do I interrupt to convince them that I know more than they do?
- Am I attempting to convey an image of self-confidence and control?
- Who would I be without the need to possess those qualities?
- Do I fear appearing unintelligent?
- Would people leave me if I heard them literally and no longer engaged in manipulative games?