Monday, October 13, 2014

listen up

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you know they might be looking at you, even nodding along, but their mind is far from what you are telling them? You can sense their distraction, and it doesn't feel good... it feels like you don't matter, or like they don't have time for you, or maybe you're just not that interesting. They are probably not the person you will choose to pour your heart out to when you are hurting, or even want to talk to about your dreams or successes.

I try really hard to be a good listener, but when I'm not, it's not usually because I'm distracted, it's because I have something to say too and I'm looking for my chance to interject. But lately I've really been evaluating and thinking a lot about the way good listening can make others feel, how I can show love to those around me simply by fully engaging myself in what they are saying to me and being present for them. To feel known is to feel loved, for me anyway, and what better way to know someone than to really listen when they speak?

There's some statistic that the average person only listens for about 17 seconds before they interrupt. Now a good conversation has got to have some back and forth, so I'm not saying that good listening=no talking. But I'm saying that the heart behind me speaking should be one of honoring the other person, really hearing them and being patient to give my response or advice. A heart of guarding my words, speaking the truth in love, preferring them and showing them that I have time for them. I have been so blessed by the relationships in my life where the other person truly hears me. Where they care about my heart, want to know what's going on in my life, listen to my struggles, and then speak life into my situation. It is a breath of fresh air, and something I don't think I could live without. Thank you, thank you, you know who you are. I want to be that for others too.

A good leader takes the time to hear those they are leading. The people who naturally attract others to them are those who can make you feel like you are the only one in the world when you are talking.

I can't think of a better way to be present for those you love than to listen when they speak.

[This is part of a 31 day series on being present in the moment]

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