Are You Listening?

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. ~ Epicteus

Do you listen to your children (spouse, friends, coworkers)?listening, communication, nurturing

I used to be a good listener. When I was younger, people would open and share very personal things with me. Then later, they would express surprise or even shock that they had shared so much. It was surprising to me too, but I sensed it happened because I truly listened, without judgement or distractions.

Now days, I’m busier, less patient and just as likely to talk as to listen. A career in sales has trained me to speak out, explain, answer objections, etc. While good skills, they’re often contrary to listening. My early sales success was related to my willingness to listen deeply, hear what people wanted, and then try to solve their problems, instead of simply pitching a product like many sales people do.

Children particularly, need to know that we care and want to hear what they have to say. By listening, we teach them what they say matters and has value. For more tips on listening, children and parenting, read this excellent post by Rachel Macy Stafford. I admire her courage and wisdom. She also encourages us to let go of perfectionism, shoulds and other distractions, to focus on what really matters.

I’ve had several reminders lately to listen more and talk less. This includes listening not only to others, but to my inner wisdom that I sometimes ignore or bury in busyness and distraction. It’s important to take time to listen to our inner voices; both the wise loving ones as well as the hurt fearful ones.

Take time to listen, accept and nurture all of you as expressed by the various inner voices. By listening to our inner critic, we find ways to understand, accept and integrate all the aspects of ourselves. Our inner critic may simply need to be heard or may have a deeper message. Similarly, the connection to our soul grows in the quiet of listening and stillness. This is why we meditate and spend time in quiet solitude, without the distractions of daily life. Nature is one of the best ways to soothe my soul. Here’s a related post about listening to the Call of Nature.

How about you? Are you listening and what works best for you?

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14 thoughts on “Are You Listening?

  1. Good on you for listening to your inner wisdom. Active listening is a gift and a skill that can be developed. It does take work though. Why not return to the days when you were that acute listener? 🙂

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  2. I definitely could exercise my listening skills more (thank you, ADD), but I also have some insight into the opposite view. Over the years, a few friendships have fallen apart. One tends to give these things a post mortem. A few, I realized, were never truly friends, as they were the type to seem to only revel in “being there” in my times of need. They never opened up and shared what was in their hearts, out of fear or pride, or whatever. They also didn’t seem as happy to share the joys. I call them the Superficial Drama Friends. Whether their lives are boring or they lack something, they seem to feed off others’ troubles. I never really got to know them because they had shields up. One admitted she never shared “dirty laundry”, yet loved to help me do mine. 😉 How can you feel close emotionally with someone who closes themselves off and doesn’t admit their hurt, fear or insecurities? And those don’t usually pop right out. It usually takes some long-winded back-and-forth for the comfort level necessary to get there, for the trust to develop. While YOU’RE listening, someone else is making themselves vulnerable and trusting you. If you want a friendship, return the favor.

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  3. Hi Brad! A nice reminder for those who don’t listen with their heart and ignore their inner voice! Such people can never be true friends or mentors. I completely agree with you that the patience to listen, without being judgmental wins many hearts and people come out with all sorts of problems.

    I have been a good listener at work but this post reminds me of a colleague (who claimed to be friends, with many of us) but was always talking about self, imposing her opinions and had no interest in what the other person wanted to convey! Consequently she had no real friends and was always insecure about sharing her so called secrets! But she became a natural source of learning…’They also serve who stand and wait!’

    I must thank you Brad for being so helpful and promptly answering my question, last time. Have a nice day.

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  4. You’re welcome Balroop. Listening has been a great way to observe and notice things about people, see who I’m drawn to creating a deeper connection. I’m glad that you are able to listen to your hearts urgings. Understanding those subtle messages is still an evolving process for me.

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    • Thanks Ivsrao. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I agree that stillness is at the root of wisdom and insight. I like your short and clear reflection that could almost be it’s own post or poem! Thanks, Brad

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  5. Dear Brad,
    I read this post when it first came out and it resonated so deeply with me because I was right at that moment being brought to awareness about listening. And so I brought this away with me, making that conscious choice to listen, truly listen to those around me and cultivating another sort of listening – of that to my inner voice. My heart. Not the whimsical sort that we usually associate listening to our heart but the voice of our conscience, that still, small voice that often gets overlooked and dismissed. I believe we honour ourselves when we pay attention to the voice of our innermost self. And when we listen to another, truly listen, we honour them too. Thank you for your listening heart. Sharon

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  6. Thank you dear Sharon. You seem to have a gift for uplifting with your words. I am touched and honored to have been ‘heard’ by you. Thank you for listening and responding to your small voice. Sometimes that’s hard for me, but yesterday I heard and acted on my inner voice, resulting in kindness and joy. I believe we all benefit when we follow our inner voice. Thanks again for listening Sharon.

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