It’s not always easy to listen. Too many of us believe listening means keeping our mouth shut while someone else is speaking. Meanwhile, our brains spin endlessly as we ruminate on what to say next.
Active listening requires attention, not just to the words, but to the feelings they convey and obscure. Those feelings relay the reality the speaker is experiencing. When you place yourself in their reality, you will experience what it’s like to live in their world. Only then will you hear what they are saying and know their truth in your own heart.
Compassion is the response of knowing someone else’s truth. Regardless of whether you agree with their truth or not, you are now in a position to serve them. By changing the reality of the speaker or by bringing them comfort when circumstances can’t be changed, you can make a difference that goes far beyond throwing your opinion back at them, which will only negate their feelings.
When people are desperate to be heard they often turn to grand gestures that grab our attention. By raising their voice, presenting a threat, or causing a scene, we know they have something to say. Instead of allowing their cries for help to go unheard by insulting or dismissing them, the compassionate response is not only to discover their pain, but to find out what they hope to accomplish by sharing it with us.
James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Friends, let’s not be fools.
Much love and many blessings,
PS- Here’s a great article if you are interested in learning more about active listening.