listen…

In leisure we regard one another’s interests as more important than ours. In leisure we say, “You are more significant than anything I have to do right now. You are the only one who counts, the one for whom I am willing to forget my other obligations, appointments, and meetings. I have time for you.” In leisure we listen long enough to hear the other person’s true heart so that if we do speak, we speak with gentle wisdom._J.W.L. – Win Live Blog

paperwhites across the lane

* I have a casual friend who, when he goes to noisy gatherings and people ask how he’s doing, on occasion has replied something like, “My business went belly-up this week, the bank foreclosed on my house, my wife left me, and I have only three days to live.”

“Wonderful” one man murmured, as he pumped my friends hand and moved on.

After he relayed this true story to me one day I really started wondering if I’ve done the same thing to others in other ways. Since then, here are some things I’ve learned about really listening:

  • When I’m thinking about an answer while others are talking…I’m not listening.
  • When I give unsolicited advice…I’m not listening.
  • When I suggest they shouldn’t feel the way they do…I’m not listening.
  • When I apply a quick fix to their problem…I’m not listening.
  • When I fail to acknowledge their feelings…I’m not listening.
  • When I fidget, glance at my watch, and appear to be rushed…I’m not listening.
  • When I fail to maintain eye contact…I’m not listening.
  • When I don’t ask follow-up questions…I’m not listening.
  • When I top their story with a bigger, better story of my own…I’m not listening.
  • When they share a a difficult experience and I counter with one of my own…I’m not listening.

Listening is hard work and most of us are unwilling to put in the time, and time is required. Listening means setting aside our own timetable and tendency to hurry on to our next destination. It means settling into a relaxed, unhurried, leisurely pace. Only in the ambiance of leisure do people know they are listened to with absolute seriousness, treated with dignity and importance.

How can we possibly refer to ourselves as a ‘friend’ if we don’t give more time than we take when a person reaches out in verbal distress? It hurts not to be really heard. It takes patience, wisdom, and loving time to be a true friend and a truly caring person.

I needed this reminder today. Did you?

* This article is not original to the Contentment Cottage Blog. I collect quotes and have saved this one for years, so many years I have no recollection of who the author might be. If you recognize it, or wrote it, please let me know so proper credit may be given.ย 

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see ya soon