Friday, October 7, 2016

Anybody listening?

Listening seems to be a lost art these days. And during this current political season, the ability to listen to one another seems more of a long-distant memory than a possibility. It's so discouraging.

What has happened to our ability—or even to our desire—to hear one another? If someone declares their political party, or their preferred candidate, we think we already know all we need to know about that person. And we quit listening. We've already judged them. And they, us.

And when people are in conversation, those not speaking at the moment are busy formulating their response or thinking about a similar situation that happened to them that they want to share next. But what about listening—and actually hearing what the other person has to say? And even more than that, listening to what's not said? Often, what's not said is as important or even more important than what is said. Reading between the lines is such an art. But these days, so is simply listening to what's said.

Why don't we each commit to improving our listening skills? Perhaps we can practice each day by at least listening attentively to one or two conversations a day. Then we can up it to three or four. And then five or six. And incrementally, we can improve our listening ability. It really is a matter of intention and building up to a habit. It would be so worthwhile to do so. What do you think?

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