Updated: May 25, 2018
If there is one thing I know that I am, it’s a good listener. I’m not a talker, but a writer and listener. But, what is a good listener?
Too often we confuse ‘hearing’ with ‘listening’. When we are in a conversation with one, two or a group of people, we sometimes only reserve a spot in that conversation to jump in with some of our own thoughts. Did we really listen or know what had just been said? Had we considered the meaning of that person’s words? Did we take time to think about all possibilities related to those words, or did we just focus on our own thoughts and spew them out without concern for the other person’s view?
To ‘listen’ should mean that we are thoughtfully, kindly, considering the meaning of another’s words. We are not jumping to wrongful conclusions based on our own preconceived ideas or beliefs. We should not just be ‘hearing’ the other person’s words as we already begin to formulate our own thoughts in order to disgorge our own confrontation.
So often, when I am speaking to others in a conversation, those others will suddenly start talking as if I was invisible. Not only had I not finished my words, but I had hoped they were really listening to what I said as being meaningful to them and something to consider in their minds. But, when this happens and I become invisible, I know that these people are not listening; they only hear words for a time as they formulate what they want to say. What I have said had no meaning for them other than being a space for them to prepare their own discourse.
If I may, I will say to you; LISTEN, really listen. Listen to what others are trying to say and make an effort to understand their words. Let your mind and mouth go silent for the time it takes them to speak their own words. Maybe if we listened and didn’t just hear, there would be a greater understanding between all people. Listen!