Listening – A Skill Worth Developing

Mark Nepo said “Listening is the doorway to everything that matters.”

Having someone listen to us – truly listen – is a gift.  We can finish expressing our thought without fear of interruption or judgment.  Without fear, we feel worthy, supported, valued.

Interruptions change the subject altogether, obscuring our message, diverting it from our original intent.  Judgment leaves us feeling diminished and devalued, sidetracking us into self-preservation and separating us from our listener.

Listening invites understanding; it right-sizes our egos, broadens our perspective and balances other points of view against our own.  Listening helps us keep our perspective when we start sliding toward the silo of self-centeredness and one-sidedness.

Nepo’s doorway is a gift we give each other.

It’s also a gift we give ourselves.  Our bodies, emotions and feelings are communicating with us all the time, telling us if our relationship, career, or environment is healthy for us.  Our headaches, sleeplessness, tight shoulders and queasy stomach can be heard as a scream or a whisper telling us our wellness is at stake; we’ll hear if we listen.

Listening is a skill we develop through intended awareness and practice.  Hearing each other and ourselves connects us with what matters.  And we all matter.

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“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Chinese Proverb