I spent a lot of my life not being the best listener. I cared about what other people had to say. I cared a little bit more about letting myself be heard. Maybe this is exclusively a “me” problem or maybe it its the fact that I am an extrovert and love talking. However, I get the feeling that some of you may be able to relate.
Many of us go throughout our days feeling unheard by those around us. Sometimes we have to be assertive in order to be heard by others. And some of us may fall on the other end of the spectrum. The side where we appear to be listening, but we aren’t really hearing. This might look like nodding our heads as our friend is sharing about their lives (while thinking about our grocery lists.)
Many years later and my job as a counselor involves a huge amount of listening. It is important that people feel heard when they are sitting in front of me and sharing their stories. I didn’t wake up one day suddenly a good listener. I practiced so that I could be better. I want the people in my life to feel heard and feel important.
How can we make sure people know we are truly hearing what they are saying? How can we make our significant others, our children, our friends, our small group at church feel heard and understood? I have a few things I have learned along the way that I would love to share: