Friday, May 18, 2012

'Listening Is an Act of Love'

I'm writing an article for a women's magazine on listening and hearing. As is so often true for writers, I'm learning more than I suspect the readers will.

How often do you feel really heard? And how are you at listening, really listening, to others?

Because we have so many messages coming at us every day, we have to employ selective hearing. It would be silly to listen as deeply to a commercial as to our child or partner. The trick is to tune out those unimportant things and still be able to be present in a real way to those we care about. It's all about being awake and aware. It's about paying attention.

National Public Radio often airs recorded stories of ordinary people in a format called StoryCorps. This oral history project features stories recorded by a husband and wife, a grandson and grandfather, partners, siblings and all sorts of other combinations. They tell their stories to each other or tell their shared story. One of the stated purposes of the project is to teach the art of listening. A book by Dave Isay, the project's founder, is titled Listening Is an Act of Love.

If listening truly is a way to show love, what are you doing today to be sure you really hear those around you? And how can you help others in your life know you want to be heard?

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