When we ASK others for information or their view on a circumstance then sincerely listen to their response we give and receive power from the exchange of energy. I believe the most valuable thing for a person is to be heard. We all want someone to care enough to inquire about us, show concern and ask clarifying questions about what we are doing in our lives. Yet, many times we find that they are so busy talking about their life that they forget about us! If all of us gain value by being heard it behooves us to model good listening skills ourselves and, at times, take the risk to point out to others if they are not honoring us or themselves by listening. You may be thinking to yourself, I might hurt their feelings if I comment. You may that is true but ultimately you will be helping them much more in the long run.
I am just finishing a book entitled, The End of Your Life Book Club, written by Will Schwalbe. In this memoir he and his mother are consummate readers so during her battle with cancer they formed a book club consisting of just the two of them. During each of her chemo treatments they would discuss the latest book they were reading and offer different perspectives on it. Like everything in life both age and experience can cause two people, regardless of how close they are, to have different perspectives. That is the beauty of the give and take of authentic conversations with others. Listening to what they have to say makes us more not less and gets the wheels going in our minds. We see things in a slightly more enlighten and broader view.
Schwalbe mentions in the epilogue that after his mom’s death he ‘would suddenly be seized with paralyzingly guilt over something (he) neglected to tell her…eventually (he) came to realize that the greatest gift of their book club was that it gave (him) time to ASK her things (and fully listen to her thoughts) not TELL her things.’
Whether we are living or dying the most important thing is to have someone who genuinely cares enough to listen to us. We feel more valued as a person and have the opportunity to hear our own thinking. Often, this can be one of the greatest therapies in the world. We realize that, in the far reaches of our minds, we know the answers to the more troubling things in our life when we experience the simple act of voicing the concern to others and listening to their response. It helps us clarify our next steps and we feel more empowered.
What we give out to the Universe comes back to us double fold. It sort of makes listening right up there on the 10 most important things we can do for ourselves and others. In our fast paced world, developing the skill to be an empathic listener is good for our minds and our souls.
Wouldn’t be wonderful if everyone could become aware of the significance of developing heartfelt listening skills. Maybe you can be the gentle nudge to help others consider ASKING rather than TELLING as we all live out our life lessons.
Have a great few days!