Communication is deemed a powerful tool to keep any relationship going. Whether it’s between two lovers, family members, friends or even employers and employees; being able to speak your mind and communicate freely holds so much power. But what is more powerful than speaking your mind is the ability to listen to someone attentively and with no judgment.
I once read somewhere that in today’s world people only listen to someone so that they can give their opinion on the topic. And if you think about it, it is true. Our world and the people in it have grown so hateful and fiercely opinionated, that we’ve forgotten how to remain calm and listen to someone else. We don’t know what it feels like to be heard anymore because the more we speak, the more there are chances of offending someone, even if it’s unknowingly.
The art of listening has become rare in this bigoted world. And yet, day-by-day we long to have a deep and meaningful conversation with someone who is willing to listen.
There is something so beautiful about listening to people, their stories, and views without essentially wanting to or having to judge them. It not only helps you become more tolerant and impartial, but also helps you understand humans better. Maybe if you listen to your inner self enough, you could know yourself better. Apart from that, the person who’s talking to you would feel much better and confident knowing that they have the attention they deserve.
Having said that, learning to truly listen to someone isn’t an easy thing to do. For starters, you need a lot of patience. And when I say a lot, I mean a whole bunch of it. You might be thinking, what is so hard about being an active listener? it’s just listening. It’s just like saying what is so hard about being a writer? it’s just writing. Well, that’s not how it works, does it? Similarly, attentive or active listening also doesn’t work that way.
The best way you can practice active listening is by learning to have patience with the person you are communicating with, making people feel heard is an art. I know, in today’s world, patience is yet another lost art form. But just like a celebrated art piece, patience is also timeless; patience is a timeless virtue, it adds up a lot of value to your life and helps you become a better listener.
But the process doesn’t stop there. Of course practicing patience helps, but that’s not the only thing you need to be an attentive listener. You should pay more attention to people and what they have to say. Giving someone your undivided attention while they’re talking shall instantly put them into a better mood.
However, it doesn’t mean that you stare into their eyes awkwardly while they share their feelings and stories. Rather, show that you’re interested in them and what they have to say. It maybe through your facial expressions or your body language, but let them know that you’re there to listen and you are listening to them and trying to feel how they feel.
Instead of judgment, show them appreciation; show them how much you care about their feelings, let them know that their feelings are valid. Give them constructive criticism rather than your opinion if you have to. Try to acknowledge the fact that they chose to share their thoughts with you because they trust you with it, respecting someone’s trust is integrity and not letting them down is care.
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