I find more and more, as I'm walking alone to and from my car, I tend to hold my keys, attached to the outside of my purse, in my hand to keep them from jingling around and making noise. 

Because, I listen to what is going on around me.

With the clanking of the keys hitting against my purse the noise drowns out everything around me - including the sound of people walking up behind me.

By holding my keys I can hear my own footsteps as well as those around me and also what is being said.

Girls, we need to keep our eyes AND ears open; be aware of our surroundings at all times, and expect the unexpected.

Listening and being able to react will be one of our most valuable survival skills.  Therefore, we need to practice the skill of listening.

Practice listening?

Don't we do that automatically?

No, we HEAR automatically.

LISTENING is a learned behavior.

There are actually different levels of listening depending on the circumstance.

Such as this: Mary goes on and on about her new boyfriend, Larry.  It seems all she does lately is talk about how great he is.  Larry this and Larry that.  After a while, all we hear is 'blah blah blah blah … Larry'.  This is referred to as 'tuning in and tuning out' listening. 

Then, there's the 'hear sounds and words' listening.  You’re at a fashion show and the announcer describes every detail of each model’s outfit, you hear him but you are not really absorbing everything that is being said.

And lastly, 'active' listening.  A bunch of you girls are yacking away all at the same time about absolutely nothing when Debbie happens to mention her new Jimmy Choo shoes and all ears sudden turn to Debbie.  Ah … active listening.

You may find this a little hard to believe (NOT), people actually have difficulty listening in times of conflict – why?  Because they are not focused. 

Active listening requires that you listen.  Really listen, to everything that is happening around you - at home, at work, anywhere...

Start practicing listening to other people's conversations (like when you're standing in line somewhere or dining out.)   I know it sounds rude (and it is) but you can learn a lot about the person or persons around you simply by listening and being in tune with what is being said. 

Are they complaining? Are they upset?  Inpatient?  Are they discussing something that could actually be beneficial to you (like last week the health department cited the restaurant you were planning to go after the movie)?

By listening and being aware of the sounds of your surroundings; the buildings, the people and the events, you will be able to gather all the pertinent facts and be better prepared for anything that may come your way.

Listening equals awareness

Remember: Sometimes silence is the loudest sound.

- Survivor Jane

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