When you have far too much to say, and its just bursting out of your mouth–choose to listen. Maybe someone else needs to talk more than you do, this time! When you’re absorbed with your own personal agendas and affairs, listen to what someone else has to say about their day: you could gain perspective and start to care for them more than you care for yourself. When you feel anxious, worrying about everything and anything, try to just listen to your surroundings. Listen to the way the breeze flows through the trees. Listen to the chatter of the kids next door. Listen to them all. They may tell you a different story than you first saw. I think that listening is much like enjoying a seriously delicious cup of coffee: you can’t hurry it, you can’t pretend to be doing it, and you must pause to reflect on it afterward. Cut out the buzzing, whirling chaos and noise around you. Stop being so inwardly focused. Enjoy. Reflect. Listen to other people.
Have you seen the difference that listening makes in your life? It is essential to be listened to, but even more so to understand the art of listening & putting ourselves second. So important, in fact, that I think our relationships and interactions can dwindle and die if we neglect to listen. I’m so thankful I’ve had some great listeners in my life–without them I may never have learned to listen at all. This distinct and deliberate action–one that you cannot fake easily–makes the speaker feel radiant and important. It gives them confidence that they actually have something to say. Maybe a little bit of silence, instead of some choppy, smart quip, would better affirm your friend’s thoughts. Perhaps you should hone in on your thinking skills… and quietly ponder what your friend really means by what they just said. Either way, listening is a terribly valuable skill to possess. You can begin to encourage people with your listening, you can begin to relate to them in a more real way–if you decide to grow this kind of character.
I think being a skilled listener also denotes much maturity. When we think we know everything, naively, and we want to tell the world all about it…”EXTRA! EXTRA!” I think sometimes it shows that we are inexperienced and are trying to overcompensate for it. We don’t know that much, but we want to pretend we do! I’ve been there, and you probably have been too. Have you ever had that moment… where you sit down next to someone who rarely speaks, and they tell you something so insightful, so brilliant, and amazing… it leaves you speechless? I have. It’s because they’re taking in the world around them with analytical and observant eyes. They are in tune. It leaves me humbled, and helps me remember once again that we all see the world through fresh lenses. No two perspectives are the same. If we can listen, we might learn that much at least.