“Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request. ” ~ Phillip Stanhope, The Earl of Chesterfield The greatest gift you will ever give or receive is simply – to listen. The act itself requires patience, on some levels even a bit of endurance, and though a modicum of empathy is always helpful as well, it really very simply comes down to our willingness to put our personal feelings, opinions and beliefs aside, if only to allow someone else a moment to have the floor. It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak and another to hear. ” ~ Henry David Thoreau To listen, by definition, is to make the conscious effort to focus our undividedattention on another person.
In the competitive world of business or the roller coaster ride that are relationships, the ability to listen, comprehend and respond is essential to effective communication. Whether it is our dreams, our fears, our prayers or simply our point of view we humans are eternally in search of someone who will open their ears, minds, and hearts to us, even as we risk our own laid out on the floor. Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals. ” ~J. Isham Instinctively, we look to another’s eyes and mannerisms for reassurance that we are deserving of love, worthy of intimacy and appreciated in our own right. It is through the gift of our time, if only for a moment, sharing in the weight of it, as we listen to another’s happiness or pain pour out of them, that we communicate this one simple thing – You are not alone.
The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. ” ~Henry David Thoreau I was told throughout my childhood to “Pay attention and listen! ” If I only had a penny, right? As children we are taught to hold hands when we cross the street, wash them when they get dirty and sit on them when it is time to listen. If only we were taught more through example, that personal satisfaction and fulfillment are achieved when we choose to act with compassion and empathy. If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear. ” ~Winnie the Pooh So, how do we know if we are good listeners or if we are raising future good listeners? I would suggest that if you find yourself among the accused, then you are most likely guilty of the following – and you too might be one of the Listening Challenged.
1. Do you find yourself thinking about what you are going to say next, instead of listening to what is being said? . Do you listen to that little voice in your head that says, “You are so much smarter than this guy”, while they are speaking? 3. Do you believe that you understand what you think they said, but are not sureyou realize that what you heard is what they meant? 4. Are you a – Bore, n. : A person who talks when others wish you would listen? 5. Are you motivated by, ‘What’s in it for you? ’ – rather than kindness? 6. To the question: “Are you a good listener? ” Do you reply, “What? ” 7.
Do you find your feet are pointed in the opposite direction of the speaker, telling the speaker through your body language that you are, in fact, “Late, I’m late for a very important date”? 8. Do you find yourself running through a mental grocery list, planning your weekend or trying to recall the lyrics to “Gilligan’s Island” instead of giving your full attention to the speaker? 9. Do you find yourself continuing with a task, while someone is trying to speak to you, rather than giving them a moment of your time? 10. Do you imagine yourself as a character in a Charlie Brown cartoon – “Wa, Waa, Wa, Waa, Wa”, when someone is speaking to you? “Listen. Do not have an opinion while you listen because frankly, your opinion doesn’t hold much water outside of Your Universe. Just listen. Listen until their brain has been twisted like a dripping towel and what they have to say is all over the floor. ” ~Hugh Elliot The human experience is all about how we choose to coexist – And Listen, whether it is with our loved ones, our co-workers, within our own communities or with our neighbors across oceans and continents.
There are no boundaries to unfulfilled potential. We have only to shelf our own insecurities and resentments long enough to hear out another’s to be good listeners. To recognize our imperfections – is to admit that we always have growing to do. It is what makes us wise. To believe that we are capable of change – is to embrace our truest nature. It is what gives us our humanity. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. ” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.