Listening seems to be a more challenging activity than ever these days, and feeling listened to (even by your significant other) a rare experience also!! In my life there are so many distractions – emails, phones, tv, radio, alarms, reminders, children and pets tugging at my focus. Not to mention my internal dialogue that goes a million miles an hourand wants to start critiquing everything that is being said – mean/nice/good/bad, angry/insulting??happy, sad/positive, agree/disagree …. blah blah blah it all gets in the way. I have to remind myself to let it all go and just listen, and not just to the words, to the state of mind of the speaker as well,as its not just the words that tell us what they are experiencing.
When you really listen to someone it means that the person you are listening to is more important at that moment than any other need, opinion, motivation or preoccupation you might have. That person is, for that time, the center of your attention and of your universe, and possibly that is the greatest form of love and validation that you can give them, it says you matter, you make sense, and I care… and really that is the core of what they were after when they came to talk with you in the first place. They wanted to be accepted and they can’t feel that way if you’re not listening.
And for you as the listener what do you get out of this ‘true’ listening? Well, when we listen we are able to be mindful, to be accepting, to let go of outcomes, to be authentic and to be empathic. Paying attention to someone or something in this way connects us to our fellow beings, and in turn connects them to us, re-inforcing our place in the universe and the circle of life… It validates us as well as them. Small acts of kindness and love improve the quality of all life and obviously YOUR life… so go on, give it up and listen to those you love, and to those that need your love, it makes a world of difference.