Monday, February 22, 2010

THE GIFT OF LISTENING



“WHAT PEOPLE NEED IS A GOOD LISTENING TO!” ~ Mary Lou Casey

To perceive with the ear is to hear. To pay attention is to listen. Noises, sounds, and words assault our ears every day. In an act of self-defense we often tune out. It is common for us to be “virtually distracted” by our iPhones and Blackberries while others speak to us. Isolation is our safe place.

But everyone needs someone to listen, not just hear him or her.

I believe the highest form of respect is to listen to others. Not for the purpose of formulating what we are going to say as soon as they are finished. When we are listening to someone we need to be there with him or her. Not making a mental list of things we are going to do as soon as we are finished talking.

My friend, Cozy Dixon, taught me about “deep listening.” It is a practice where you discipline your mind to be totally focused on the person with whom you are speaking. Watch their facial expressions; listen to the changes in their voice tone. Hear what they are really saying and sometimes we pick up more than their words. This should be done without offering our two-cents worth of unsolicited advice.

In our world of “talking heads” people need us to make eye-contact with them and listen. By doing that we are conveying this message:

“You are valuable, you are worth my time, you are important.”

Don’t we all need that message?

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