Being kind is more important than being right. What people often need is not a brilliant mind that speaks, but a caring heart that listens.
It surprises me that learning how to listen is an acquired skill. If we were to look at life, we start off listening in order that we might learn how to speak. So it is most certainly the first of the skills to take root, in partnership with sight, touch, taste, and smell as our foundational resources to commence the journey of life.
Why then, is it necessary to re-learn how to listen as we grow older? Does this stem from our having our ability to respond to questions in school rewarded? Once we are on the path of communicating our own thoughts, are we less prone to contemplate those of others?
The art of education requires a keen ear for listening and given that requirement, we would presume that listening is always going to be a mandatory part of our existence.
When the person who is speaking is not someone from whom we are expecting to learn, are we less likely at that point to give a willing ear to whatever it is that they wish to share?
I think this is all found compartmentalized within the category of compassion. When we are capable of finding that incredibly valuable quality within ourselves, we are most able to bestow that upon another who is needing that from us. Compassion is not a prerequisite to survival. There is nothing in life that requires us to behave in such a manner. That said, mastering the art of genuine compassion bestows a much higher value on our internal being then we might presume at first blush.
If we explored this topic without emotion, it could be argued that compassion is just a waste of time because it does not necessarily get us anywhere. However, I would argue that the opposite is quite true. Having the genuine skills of heartfelt compassion elevates our internal frequency on levels that are immeasurable. It delivers us into the realm of spirituality that has zero to do with any form of religion or any form of a relationship with a god or a deity. Instead, compassion creates a newfound communication between ourselves and whomever we are willing to bestow it upon.
When we take the time to listen, we are validating the feelings of another human being. If they are desirous of communicating with us, there is almost always a reason why. We humans are a very complicated specie. We have so many emotional needs as to confuse anyone trying to quantify and qualify what those emotions are expressing.
In business, one of the most important skills is listening. In my line of work in which we produce creative materials for hire, if we are not incredibly capable of listening to what the client specifically wants, we are left with a project that is destined to fail. Many times, a client will express something that they want and we might presume that we have a better idea. But I can tell you from personal experience that regardless of whether or not you show up with a better idea, the first thing the client is looking for, is exactly what they told you they wanted. And if you do not show up with that idea as one of your compositions for consideration, you are already in a considerably one down position. The client immediately feels that you did not listen to what they told you.
If you are in a relationship of any kind…romantic, friendship or other, one of your most valuable qualities is your ability to listen to what the other person shares with you and to be capable of responding in a fashion that makes the other person feel that they have been heard because it validates what they have said.
When another person is sharing something with you and that information is of emotional importance to that person, there is a deep expectation that whatever they have shared will resonate with you, even if you disagree with what they have just said. Finding the patience and the skill to sit through whatever is being expressed and listen fully in a polite fashion is, in many cases, far more important than anything you might reply in response, regardless of how intelligent your response might be.
Our world is oppressive in countless ways and we work regularly to navigate our paths in life through those problems and obstacles. Sometimes all we need is just someone to talk to. Take the time in your life to find some time to pay forward the role of being a great listener. Even if you don’t really want to hear whatever is being shared, you are participating in one of the most important aspects of being a valuable human being, and in doing so, it will return to you in spades. Happy Monday!