Listen to hear.
Listen to understand.
Don’t listen to answer.
Don’t listen, waiting all the while to come back with something witty and insightful.
Sometimes, you might find yourself with a mouthful of teeth and nothing intelligent to say.
Don’t be afraid to be honestly at a loss for words.
It’s not about getting your words out, after all.
It’s about getting their words in.
When you listen to hear – to understand – asking insightful questions, probing deeper, will come easily – naturally, even.
We send all of our lives desperately seeking to be heard, to be seen, to be acknowledged.
It starts with us. It starts with me.
If I want to be heard, I need to be hearing.
If I don’t make it a real and natural part of my daily habits, how will anyone else?
Maybe no one else even knows it’s a thing.
Maybe they’ve just never thought of it before. Or perhaps it’s so far removed from their experience that they have no template on which to model their behaviour.
Perhaps, if I do it, if I start to listen, to hear, someone else will notice, and start to do the same. Perhaps someone that person listens to, hears, will realise consciously what has happened – what great gift they’ve been given – and perhaps, just maybe, they’ll pass it on.
One by one, we could infect every person on the planet. We could share the listening until the whole world is listening, hearing. Seeing.
“It is impossible, when once you know another’s story, not to love that person.” Just imagine the love we could birth around the globe with this one simple act: to listen. Imagine the wars we could end with the simple choice to hear, to understand, instead of answering or being heard.
Listening is loving.
And LOVE is a verb. It requires ACTION. Let’s take it.