Slow Down, Stop and Listen!
We have many opportunities to hear others, but we don’t take advantage or see these events as opportunities. Most cultures in Western nations train us to focus on me and my needs. We move into adulthood and unless we are trained counselors or coaches, we have put very little thought towards gaining skills as good listeners.
This is new to me but I want to improve. I want to slow down, stop the self talk, and really hear what others are saying. A few years back I, subconsciously, determined if in a one-on-one conversation a person was communicating something of merit to me, I would definitely listen and engage them. If a person was not communicating something of merit, I had a right to tune out and not listen to them.
I am training myself to act differently now. I want to hear what others have to say. I want to know them more authentically. So, what have I done differently? First, I realized I have a real deficit in listening skills. Next, I observed what others were saying about how to develop listening skills. I also put thought into listening for things from the heart and affirm friends as they share more intimately and authentically.
More practically, I attempt to listen for expressions of emotions and desires (longings of the heart). I listen for significant words that catch my attention. I attempt to drill into those by asking the person some question such as: “What made that awesome?” or “What made you sad?” I determine what is behind significant words. Is there some motive? Is tension caused by a situation? After getting a good understanding of the underlying emotions, I look for personal goals and desires. Those goals and desires may be blocked or just waiting to be pursued and fulfilled. Listening is a great gift we can give another. We can be the support that another needs to identify goals and desires. We can be the catalyst to help focus on actions which achieves goals.
Listening is a key skill which, if used effectively can help many people. Listening is also a skill which helps us advance our sense of worth and understand others in a deeper way at thee same time.
Our Heavenly Father models listening to us. The Psalms tell us over and over that He listens to us attentively.
I want to spend some more words on listening as a skill.