This Holiday season I have spent a lot of time watching and listening to people. The Happy ones, the sad ones, the content and the discontent. And one of the things I notices when they interacted talking with others was the difference between forming and opinion or judgment on what other’s were saying or just listening.
Let me explain. With our interactions with each human being we cross, our minds make decisions on what passes between us…. we form opinions, make judgments, size up and draw conclusions bases on what people say. It is when you don’t control your mind on these actions that you can do the most harm to yourself and your relationships. We as a culture need to learn to “Listen” again.
To Listen: give one's attention to a sound
• Make an effort to hear something; be alert and ready to hear something
This part of the definition I think gets so lost in our current state of culture. To truly listen you have to try, and to try you can’t be busy forming opinions, judging or anything else while people are talking. Quiet your mind and really hear the people you are taking precious moment’s of your life to interact with. Then when they are done, take a moment and if it is appropriate, share how you feel too. It is a different approach than putting forth your opinion or judgment a part of the way into a conversation. Give people the floor; hear what they have to say and breath. Sometimes it isn’t necessary for you to even have an opinion and recognizing this can help keep you from giving yourself ulcers and being left out of conversations. Celebrate listening this season and see where it puts you.