watching, reading, and writing stories

The Importance of Listening

on August 12, 2015

Close-Up, Communication, Deaf, Ear, Female, Girl

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I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, I was the ‘shy’ kid. I didn’t talk much, at least to strangers and I was often quiet. It seemed like talking was just too hard, probably because I wasn’t sure what others would think about what I said, or I just didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute to the conversation. Especially in a big group, this can still be the case. So I thought it was a problem, if only I could talk freely like other kids… or adults.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve overcome some of those irrational fears that I had as a kid. I can talk in a group, or even on stage if I need to. But I still have a tendency to listen instead of speak. And I’m glad I do. I’ve heard so many things about the importance of listening… or “active listening.” It’s a real skill and not everyone has it naturally. I think because of my ‘shy’ personality, this was easier for me to learn, and it is very beneficial, especially in close relationships.

I’ve gone through a lot of trainings for Disaster Relief, or working with impoverished people, and even for leadership, and all of them have emphasized the importance of listening. Listening shows care for another person. It includes eye contact, nodding and can even include talking, such as repeating what the other person says to make sure you understand, or asking follow-up questions. But the focus is on what the other person wants to talk about, or in some cases needs to talk about.

Now being quiet and listening isn’t something I feel ashamed of, but something I’m thankful for. It’s a blessing to be a true friend for someone else and show care through listening. And though there are times I need to talk too, I’m glad I’ve learned how to listen.


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