By Jeff Taylor, MAC, LPC
Have you ever had someone REALLY listen to you? Not as a learned skill but in a sincere desire to understand.
What was it like?
Truly listening to someone is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. It is not about agreeing with their perspective. It IS about communicating value to who they are as a person. Deeply listening to someone especially when they are in pain is like salve to a wound.
Empathy doesn’t mean agreement.
No one ever learned anything from talking, we learn only through listening. That’s so simple but stunningly true.
“Know how to listen and you will profit EVEN from those who talk badly”.
That sounds like something you might read in a current self-help book. It’s not. That’s from Plutarch. He was a Greek philosopher who lived from 46AD to 120AD. Truly listening never goes out of style. And yet, we live in a culture that rarely listens.
The quantity of what we communicate is greater than ever before. Many people seem to have lots to say and the desire to say it to as large of a group as possible. Social media has all but removed listening. It elevates a desire to be seen but because it provides no opportunity for connection it leaves us hollow. We have replaced quantity with quality.
Think of someone that you would love to share the parts of your life with that you rarely talk about? Would it be someone from history? Abraham Lincoln. Ghandi. Jesus. Maybe it would be someone you knew? A friend. Grandparent. Parent.
What do you think it would be like to have that conversation? What would you share with them? Think about what it would be like to look into that person’s eyes. My guess is it would be calming, even healing.
Try an experiment in the next 24 hours. Pay attention to how much you truly listen to the people in your life that involves:
Stopping what you are doing.
Giving them eye contact.
Giving the person your full attention.
I think it would be awesome if every family had a room in the house designated as the “listening room”. No phones. No Netflix. The purpose of the room is to be heard. No distractions. Wouldn’t be great if you had a terrible day and someone said to you “Let’s go to the listening room---I really want to hear what you have to say?”
Then you could bring your listening room into your day. Think about the looks you would get if you said, “Come into my listening room because I REALLY want to hear you."
Before they run away, you could you could show them this blog and explain why.