Listening

Clydesdale HorsesPaying attention; focusing; heeding; really hearing what another person is saying 

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

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

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 it is to be 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 conversing with someone, 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 in our share of talking because we need to fit in, be accepted, and impress those around us. Too often, too many are talking, but few listen.

    Studies have been done indicating those who are very good listeners are typically considered to be excellent conversationalists, even if all they do is listen. It takes discipline to listen. If we are skilled at listening, we can gain knowledge and information. We learn about those around us, their lives, joys, and 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 do listen to us. It is therapeutic. A requisite for being a good therapist is to learn to listen. Therapists encourage patients to do nearly all the talking as they sit back and take notes on what is said. Those we consider our best friends are those who listen to us. They are often our therapists. We feel comfortable with these individuals because we know they will tune in to what we have to say. We easily bond to those we can talk to and know they will listen. They have very important roles; they are our support group. It gives us some very important and needed sense of personal security. Those with no one who listens to them, tend to feel alone, inadequate and unloved.

   When two people engage in conversation, each person has their role to play. If one party has something to say, the other party should be committed to attentive listening. Conversely, when the second party has something to say, the first party is equally obligated to concentrate on what gets 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 higher regard for being a good listener and you will have better friends in the process.

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 teachings and parable of doing things for others. Good listening skills is a valuable form of doing for others.

Prayer:  Help me to learn to better listen.

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