Listening is the best gift you can give someone.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. 2020 is be the year of polarized opinions. We all seem to have opinions on highly charged issues—racial injustice, pandemic concerns, economic recovery, the upcoming elections in November—and most us seem inclined to share our thoughts verbally and online.
While it is healthy to express ourselves, hopefully politely, it is also good for us to listen to others. In this, we often seem to fail. We may be prone to dismiss others’ opinions if they don’t agree with ours. We end up conflicting from opposing viewpoints instead of engaging in meaningful and purposeful dialogue. We’re so busy judging and preparing refutations that we don’t give others the gift of our respectful, neutral attention.
Today’s message reminds me that I can give others presents or donate to charity, but nothing will make as much of an impact on others or on issues as my thoughtful, nonjudgmental attention. If I take the time to listen, truly listen to someone, I am showing them that I value them, their needs, feelings, and opinions. I express my empathy and respect by hearing what they have to say. My neutral willingness to hear helps others feel safe to express themselves on what might be a challenging topic for them. In short, I show them that I care, I show them that they matter. In this way, I can honor their worthiness and essential divinity. It’s time to strengthen my listening skills.
How about you? How well do you feel you listen to others?