Are you a good listener? Is listening even something you recognize and understand as a skill? Do you enjoy being in conversation knowing that the person you are talking to is listening?
Time to take my own advice maybe? I drove my son to work this morning. He was talkative and he usually isn’t. I listened. I sometimes find it hard to just listen, because some things he shares that just don’t make sense to me, or they are things that I know just won’t work.
There is a hidden nugget of value in that last paragraph, do you know what it is? Let me expose it in case you don’t. I might know they don’t work, and that they don’t make sense to me, but HE DOESN’T KNOW, IT DOES MAKE SENSE TO HIM!
It’s usually at this point in the conversation that I want to jump in with all my 62 years worth of fatherly wisdom and advice in the hopes that the brilliance that comes from deep within me is going to set him free, that it’s going to make all his crooked paths straight, that what I share will be like a bright light that will help him find his way in his sometimes dark world. Instead I sat in silence and let him search and fumble for the words he needed to use to make his feelings known.
A funny thing happens when we create that space in the realm of silence. In our need to explain how we sometimes feel, or to be able to clearly state what we mean we need to reach deep down and get in touch with the things that vex us. The things that we are afraid to talk about. The real things that create the resistance that stop us dead in our tracks. I’m talking about the secrets we hold close to our hearts. The things we don’t know how to express or are afraid to express.
If we sit patiently in silence, they dig deep all on their own and begin to realize that they have the answers to their vexing questions. That they need to turn right instead of left, that they need to reach deep instead of reaching out. In order for them to explain how they feel, they need to find their own words. It’s a beautiful thing to experience. I watched my son’s face light up. I don’t know if he realized that I was watching, because he was experiencing the fact that he understood what he was first sharing didn’t really make sense. I knew he was on the right path, his path by the way and not the one I wanted to push him down, because he said “Now I get it” How cool is that?
Will I be perfect at creating this space every time I sit with people? I doubt it, but it’s something that I’m more and more aware of and will work diligently at. I think the flip side of that is what we learn when we listen. I know i’m taking in zero when i’m blabbing about all the great things I know. But when I listen, I begin to take in all the things I don’t.
I hope you find value in this and that you feel it might be worth sharing with someone you might not have really listened to. So next conversation you enter, do it with the intention of listening and creating the space for the speaker to solve their own problems. You’ll be amazed at how great you both feel.
Have a great day….unless you have other plans.