My photo
Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog, I am glad you are here. For the most part, I use this to comment (and sometimes ramble...) about the many things I love or perhaps am fascinated with this week. This can include quite an assortment of topics, including my propensity for reading novels at all hours of the day, writing, art, and travel, as I do have a serious case of Wanderlust.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are you listening?

No, really? Are you?

One of my favorite Saint Benedict quotes is this "Listen and attend with the ear of your heart." I think this is so relevant to my initial question.

How many times can you honestly say you listen to the person speaking to you, across from you, on the phone, etc? I think we'd all like to say "All the time, of course!", but is that really accurate?

Let's say one is engaged in an argument or heated discussion, are you listening to the other person, or are you thinking about how you are going to respond to what they just said? Or, let's say you're speaking with someone and the whole "Hi. How are you" bit goes on. Do you really listen to how they are doing?

But Kim, I do listen when I ask people that and all they say is 'I'm good' or 'Okay". Well... what do you make of that. With the myriad of things that a person goes on with not only in that 24 hour period, but also including all the other things that they have been going through, are preparing for, etc, do you really think a one or two word answer sums it up?

Sure, they may be preoccupied and not ready or able to break it all down and speak with you ((especially when the person asking continues to walk right by, sometimes before you even answer their question!)), but I also very much think that we have all been programmed this way. We are always 'fine' or 'okay', and we should not burden others with what is going on. How are we to truly listen then if all the messages we have been receiving have been to not speak?

And going back to the Saint Benedict quote, I think it takes even more work to not only listen to what someone is saying to you, but to do so with your heart. Truly hear and in doing so, feel, with the person and what they are saying to you.

But Kim, you're a counselor so you know empathy and Carl Rogers and blah blah blahhhh.

Nope. I'm not buying it. Human connection and empathy is innate. We all possess the skills to do this, but again I think for whatever reason we shy away from this. Empathy let's us actually feel with the person. If someone is having a very sad day, why would we want to share in that experience that with them? Well, sometimes that is exactly what they (and everyone, at many, many times in their lives) need. Not sympathy. We don't need people to just understand or support us, perhaps feeling sorry for our situation. We would like someone to share our experience with us, be that fellow sufferer (because we all are, anyway!) and listen.

What am I going to hear today?

1 comment:

  1. Really great post! I always wish I was a better listener. I need to work on it. Great St. Benedict quote!! :o) I also tend to over-share lol.

    For Love of Cupcakes

    P.S. I finally wrote about the bonfire today!