Have you ever noticed how it feels to have someone listen to you? I mean really listen. It doesn’t really happen all that often, especially in this crazy busy world of distractions. But when someone gives you their full attention, and just listens, that’s a precious moment.
When someone is genuinely interested in you and what you have to say, their attention says that you matter. You have value.
I need to know that I matter, that I have value. So do you. So do we all.
It’s hard to listen really well. To listen without jumping to conclusions or to judgement. To get past the feeling that listening isn’t enough, that I need to share my own anecdote to show that I understand, that I need to provide a solution a friend’s problem, that I should have some useful advice. That I somehow need to fix things, as if they need me to rescue them, as if I’m not already broken myself.
But what if I listened to someone in order to learn? From them. About them. What if I listened – to know them?
How would that change the way I listen?
Would it free me from shouldering a responsibility that is not mine? Would it free me from waiting for ‘my turn’? Would it free me from trying to impress with my own insight or humour? Would it free me to really pay attention and seek to understand a person. Would it allow me to really see them for who they are? To be with them? To love them and care about them?
I think it just might.