known very few good listeners in my life. I've been a
good listener much less often than I've wanted to be.
I try really hard to listen well because I know that it's
the most respectful thing that I can do for another person,
but it is very difficult for me because there's so much that
I want to contribute to the conversation. So instead
of listening all the time, I often think about what I'm
going to say, and instead of responding directly to what the
other person has said, I say the words that I had thought of
a while before.
do have a lot of interference in our brains when it comes to
listening to others. We have thoughts and desires and
biases and judgments to work through, because as soon as
they come up, our listening skills are compromised. As
soon as I start formulating a response to someone, I'm not
listening fully any longer. I'm astonished at the
people who are on their phones or computers while supposedly
listening to someone else--and who still claim that they're
hearing everything that's being said. They're not.
to another person may be the best thing we ever can do for
him or her. Paying close attention to what they're
saying can be the greatest show of respect that anyone ever
shows them. Actually hearing what they're saying, as
well as what they're not saying, may be the most helpful
thing we ever can do for our fellow human beings. Yet
few of us are taught how to do it, so we need to find our
own ways of learning how to listen, and practice the skill
as much as possible, with everyone with whom we
interact. If we do so, we can be doing something for
them that perhaps no one else truly does.
can be a great challenge to refrain from responding, and
just listening. It can be very hard not to judge, and
just to listen. But it's a challenge that's worth
taking on, for when we do listen to other people, we're
strengthening our world by helping another person to find a
strength that he or she might not have been aware they had.