Listening – hear, pay attention, be attentive, attend, concentrate on, hearken, tune in, keep one’s ear open.
This is what I decided to do this summer. I went on a listening tour. I was determined to listen to the sounds of nature, music, voices, and opinions.
I listened to words spoken to me with kindness and others with words of criticism. I listened to folks share their life stories, plans for the future, and hopes.
I listened to children share their thoughts and experiences in their very young life (which is fascinating, by the way). I listened to folks speak on politics, social issues, and current events. I listened to folks share their harsh opinions and loving concerns about world events. I listened to folks speak of things that were not accurate with great certainty (which can be terrifying). I listened to debates, and I listened to praise.
Listening is an exercise that requires great discipline. You must shut down all the thoughts that run through your head in response to every spoken word. You have to refrain from debating, admonishing, correcting, and the impulse to insert your opinion.
Bottom line…Folks want to be heard.
They want to be acknowledged, and that comes with the exercise of listening.
I have an uncanny gift to listen and capture many conversations that are being had in one room. Many call it a “Puerto Rican Super-power.” We can carry on two-three conversations at once and not miss a beat.
In my listening tour, I learned that we all seek the same thing!
To be seen. To be acknowledged. To be loved. To be respected. To be accepted and to be heard.
That is why Social Media continues to be the ultimate social experiment of “please, please like me”. We want the world to see us, listen to us, like us, and accept us.
If you are in the presence of anyone, be it a child, elder, neighbor, enemy, or friend, and you are having a conversation. Stop what you are doing. Turn around, look at them, and listen. You will notice a shift in their delivery and their demeanor. Walls will be laid down, and ideas that may pleasantly surprise you will be exchanged. The purpose of listening is to understand concepts, learn something new, and understand the opposer.
Engage in the exercise of listening. You may learn something about yourself you never thought you would, could, and should know.
Something to think about…while you are listening…!