Listening is a lost art in today's society. People enjoy being the center of attention, and do not want to take the time to really listen to anyone else.
We may ask, "How are you?", but we quit paying attention before they even answer our question. We are easily distracted and have no real interest in hearing the answer.
We listen to other conversations around us to see if there is anyone talking about something more interesting to us than the conversation we are participating in at that moment.
This lack of interest in what we have to say leaves the wounded, hurting multitudes of people in our world to shut down emotionally, and to bury their secret and most vulnerable needs, hopes and feelings.
Sometimes we stop talking, but we do not really listen. We do not really hear what the other person is saying, because we are too busy thinking about the next statement we want to make.
However, learning the art of ”active" listening is a skill worth cultivating. It shows the speaker that we consider their thoughts and feelings as important as our own.
Even if the person is bringing up an issue with something we have done, we can actively listen, clarify rather than assuming what they mean, resist getting defensive or accusing and ask for forgiveness.
Active listening takes effort and a desire to connect soul-to-soul with another human being. We are not just sharing information, but attempting to elicit empathy or understanding for what we are going through.
Our motive for sharing is not really for the other person to fix our problem, but we are asking for them to show that they really care about how we feel about our issue. We want to bond, not just impart data.
Father God, help us to stop wishing that our friend/mate would hurry and finish their story so that we can start our next monologue. Remind us that dialog is what communication is really all about. Help us to mute the TV, or our tunes, and to light up when they come into the room. Show us how to focus our attention so that we can help them to feel cherished and important.
Remind us to allow them to finish talking before assuming what they are going to say and interrupting their flow of thought with our own information, similar story or advice without really listening to them until they are finished talking. Help us to really see and hear one another and to constantly listen to Your Spirit's direction for each moment of our life.
Thought for the Day:
Even when someone disagrees, or has a criticism of us, it is important to listen to what they have to say without zoning out or interrupting them.
For information on active listening skills, check out this webpage: