Have you heard a song—maybe listened to it for years—thinking it said one thing, and it actually said something else? You think you’re singing the words as they are…until one day you’re singing in front of your friends or kids and they bust out laughing at you!
It’s hilarious what we can hear when listening to unfamiliar lyrics and sounds. Here are some funny ones that are pretty common:
- Starship: ‘We built this city on rock and roll’ is heard as We built this city on sausage rolls.
- Johnny Nash: ‘I can see clearly now the rain has gone’ is heard as I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone.
- Aretha Franklin: ‘You make me feel like a natural woman’ is heard as You make me feel like a rash on a woman.
- One Republic: ‘It’s too late to apologize’ is heard as It’s too late to order fries.
- Far East Movement: ‘Now I’m feeling so fly like a G6′ is heard as Now I’m feeling so fly like a cheese stick.
I’m sure you’ve got your own!
What we listen for makes a real difference in what we hear and don’t hear.
I have written several posts on the lenses we each look through and experience life from. But lenses apply to more than just our eyes; we have lenses on our ears as well. We don’t just look for certain things in life, we listen for certain things, too. Or as Werner Erhard has said, “We are already, always listening.” Rarely do we ever just listen. We are usually listening for. There is a subtle, unconscious, preset agenda in our listening. We listen for what is familiar, what we already think we know or have experienced. And it makes a real difference in what we hear and what we don’t hear.
I didn’t know that I didn’t know I was hearing every experience through a filter.
When I got aware of it, I created a new listening.
I remember the first time a professor pointed this out to me—this projection of my own thoughts onto the intentions and actions of others—I thought she was nuts! But I had been listening that way for so long, I didn’t know that I didn’t know I was hearing every experience through that filter. When I got aware of it, I created a new listening for being secure and enough and a blessing to others. And it forever transformed how I experience kind, and even unkind, feedback in life.
What if you haven’t heard it because you haven’t listened for it?
I have a client that was always already listening for criticism and rejection in her marriage. In every conversation she heard her husband criticizing or rejecting her. So I asked her, “And what if that’s not true? I know it seems true. I know that is what you have heard all these years. But what if your husband is saying something else, and you just haven’t been able to hear it because you have never listened for it? What if in your next conversation, you intentionally listen for acceptance and understanding instead, just to try it out, and notice what you hear?”
You will always hear what you’re listening for.
If you’d like to practice listening for love and support, I created an audio meditation you can listen to here. Enjoy!