We listen when we feel safe.

Mostly, we think we’re listening to other people. And often, we’re not really listening, or at least not listening well.

There are a variety of reasons we don’t listen—we’re bored, we’re rehearsing what to say next instead of hearing what others are saying, or we are hearing through the filter of our own preconceptions.

Often, we may not be open to what others are actually saying. We may not want to hear what they have to say, we may not value their message, or we may have our defenses up.

If we can keep our emotions out of our listening as much as possible—by hearing someone out, we’re merely collecting data about what they think and feel—we stand a better chance of listening to them without bias.

It’s important for us to understand that what someone says to us truly can’t harm us. It’s merely a reflection of their beliefs and feelings, which often have nothing to do with us. Whether or not someone approves or disapproves of us or agrees or disagrees with us, we’re still the same person with our own intrinsic worth.

We also may not understand someone’s viewpoint and therefore will tune them out. However, unless we make a sincere attempt to hear them, we certainly never will understand them.

Today’s message invites me to recognize that I create my own safety. Knowing this, I realize that I’m always safe in talking with others.

Please reflect and share. How does your sense of safety affect your listening skills?