I originally posted the following on Facebook in something I call Coffee Shop Ponderings. Comments are appreciated.
Listen! Listen again! Listen some more! If I sum up what I have learned through the years in being with people it all comes down to one essential skill. Listening. If we neglect to listen we neglect true care of people. To listen means to do more than hear what people are saying. In listening I lay aside preconceived notions I may have. In listening I am being present with another person’s soul. Does this sound too lofty an idea? Well, it is not lofty, it is a need. I say to listen is a skill.
Most people can use skill development when it comes to listening. To listen certainly does not come easy. Just because we may say, “I’m listening” does not mean we are.
When I am with people in a professional role this is how I listen. To listen means the words someone may be sharing with me penetrates my heart and mind. I receive the words in such a way I discern not only the thought but the accompanying feelings of the person. I hear their words and see perhaps a quiver of the lips or a smile. I hear in the tone of the person’s voice the feelings that come from within. Their smile causes me to smile. Their cries cause me to feel with the person but I do not become overwhelmed. I listen and feel with. I may respond by saying something like, “You sound so happy” or “This is hard for you.” Often people will say, ” I haven’t talked about that for years. I’ve kept it inside. Thank you for listening!” That thank you is a gift from one listened to.
In a personal context when with family and friends. Even with family members or dear friends it is important to really listen. Many times family members may not listen to each other. It is oftem more about getting one’s point across than it is coming to an understanding between each other. It is not about always having to be right as much as it is knowing you love each other. To listen is to care and love. To not listen results in the opposite.
Do you want people to know you really love and care for them? Learn to listen.