Everyone wants to be heard and we tend to get louder and louder until we feel understood. But despite all our yelling, we often still miss each other. Understanding calls for the gift of listening as well.
Listening seems to be a lost art. More often we’re quick to speak and slow to listen – if we ever get around to actually listening at all.
And this leaves us frustrated when we seem to keep having the same conversations over and over again.
Our human tendency is to repeat ourselves and speak louder whenever we don’t feel heard.
And while occasionally we need to be more assertive and clear in what we’re communicating, our lack of listening is often the main culprit in our communication breakdowns.
True listening is not simply waiting for our turn to speak or merely repeating back what the other said. Though these may be good first steps.
True listening is seeking to understand and honor the viewpoint of the other.
This does not require agreement or even factual accuracy. We don’t have to like what the other is saying in order to respectfully listen.
But listening does create the space to respectfully acknowledge and affirm the other’s perspective.
And while it takes practice, we can all become better listeners, which is also a pathway to love.
The more we understand the other the more we’re able to respond in love to them. It’s hard to love if we’ve never taken the time to truly listen and understand.
This is a rare gift – one we all crave but seldom give.
Be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Give the gift of listening and watch your life and relationships grow in love.