Listening

Paying attention; heeding; really hearing what another person is saying

Nature has given to men one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak. Epictetus

It’s just as important to listen to someone with your eyes as it is with your ears.  Martin Buxbaum 

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.  Ernest Hemingway

 Being a good listener is very desirable. It is much more important to be a good listener than being a good talker. We often like to talk about ourselves so much; there is very little opportunity for others to speak.

   How many of us are guilty, while engage in conversation of waiting for the other person to pause for breath so we can jump in and say our two cents worth. We are determined to get our share of the conversation because we want to fit in, be accepted, and impress those around us. Too often too many are talking, but no one is listening.

    Studies have been done indicating those who are very good listeners are considered to be excellent conversationalists, even if they only listen. It takes discipline to listen. If we are skilled at listening, we gain knowledge and information. We learn about those around us, their lives, joys, and much more. We also pick up a world of general information that may prove to be valuable. We have an innate need to know that others are listening to us. It is therapeutic. A requisite to being a good therapist is being very skilled at listening. Therapists encourage patients to do nearly all the talking as they sit back and take notes on what is said. Those we consider to be our best friends are those who are likely to listen to us. We feel very comfortable with these individuals because we know that they are tuned in to what we have to say. We bond to those we can talk to and know they will listen. They have a very important role; they are our support group. It gives us a very important and needed sense of personal security. Those who have no one who listens to them can feel alone, inadequate and unloved.

   When two people engage in conversation, each person has a role to play. If one party has something to say, the other party should be committed to listening. Conversely, when the second party has something to say, the first party is obligated to concentrate on what is being said. When this happens, both individuals can come away feeling good: Each had something to say and someone listened. Good listening skills is a very desirable strength of character trait. We are well advised to spend more time listening and less time talking.

 

Challenge:Are you a good listener, or are you the one who is always talking? Start listening! Learn to resist the urge to talk so much and become a better listener. Clear your mind of all the unnecessary things you might want to say and instead concentrate and truly listen. On occasion be sure to repeat back what you have heard them say. You will be held in high regard for being a good listener and you will become a better friend as well.

 

Wisdom: To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.  Chinese Proverb

Spiritual: (NIV)

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. Proverbs 20:19

Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6

It can be said that being a good listener is an act of giving. It is better to give than to receive. We have a tendency to be rather self-centered and more tuned-in to what is in it for me than what can I do for others. When we take the time to care and be concerned for other’s well-being then we are becoming less selfish. The Bible has many examples of teachings and parable of doing things for others. Good listening skills is a form of doing for others.

 

Prayer:  Help me to learn to listen.

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