“Listen to me!”, shout the inner voices of
the unhappy child, the indigenous woman, the lonely teenager,
the elderly person locked in a place that
was to be safe but now is in breakout mode.
“Listen to me!” shout the trees in the forest as the logger marks them red
Or the developer thrashes with determined effort to
Create a monster home for those who already have enough.
Listening with open heart creates a path
For compassion, understanding, love.
Listening, one of the main acts of loving,
Simply listen to a person you care about at home or at work. First sit calmly. Envision yourself in a place of peace, ready to open your heart to the other person who just wants to be heard. Notice the right time to begin with an open ended question. Perhaps you might say “How did school go today?” or “What worried you at work today?” or maybe “What can I bring to you that will brighten your day?” or “You look tired. Is there anything I can do to help? What do you need most?” or make your own question that does not seek a yes or no response.
And then just listen. Any further questions are without judgement but also open ended? Perhaps “How did you feel about that?” or How did that affect things?” or even “Tell me more about that.” This kind of listening can help the person with workplace burnout, parenting, marriage conflicts, and more.
You do not have to fix anything when the person is not asking to be fixed. Refrain from giving an opinion. You can reflect their question back to them. If you have listened long and you feel the person is looking for an answer, then you might say something like “Is there anything you would like me to do?” or “How can I help you?”
Imagine a world where people listen openly and non-judgmentally on a regular basis. The world would become a better place. A more peaceful, productive, happier place.
Be brave. You can do this. I welcome your response.