Monday, December 13, 2010

Listen With Your Heart

Listening is about putting others first. I truly believe that being heard is a basic need that we all share. When we do not feel like we are heard, we get frustrated. We do not want to listen to anyone else, because no one is listening to us. We believe that what we have to say is so important, that even when others are speaking, we aren’t really listening but instead are simply waiting our turn to talk. This kind of “fake” listening is not effective for a number of reasons. It damages relationships instead of building them, and no one really gets heard. There is no “win-win”.
I’m reminded of a time when my grandparents were arguing. Each was desperately trying to say something that they thought was important, and they kept getting louder and louder, trying to out-shout the other. What they didn’t realize is that they weren’t really arguing, because they were talking about two completely
different things. If they had taken the time to really listen to one another, they would have realized that they were both right. What they were really doing was fighting to be heard.
What we need to do is seek first to understand, then to be understood. If we put others first, we will find that we fulfill others’ need to be heard and we will be heard ourselves. We must listen with our eyes and heart, as well as with our ears. True listening involves being active, attentive, and open to what others have to say. True listening builds relationships and makes us more effective in our communication with others. Everyone deserves a chance to be heard.

- Karen

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