Midweek Mantra: Listen and Understand

How does it feel to be you?

That is the question I most want to ask people I meet.

How does it feel to live your life?

What makes your heart burst with pride?

What are you most ashamed of?

How do you get through the nights that seem never-ending in their dark starlessness?

What keeps you tethered to the earth, to the here and now, uplifts your spirit with joy?
What is the fabric of your very soul?

I am curious about people, passionate about finding out their stories, unravelling the mystery of who they are and how life made them that way. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, most have more than one, and love to share them if only you listen.

One of the things I loved the most when I worked in customer service, and later when I worked in health care, was listening to people tell you about what it means to be them living their lives; in the smallest snippets while you bag their purchases, or over the course of hours while you work through a weight loss intervention with them.

The key here is that you have to learn to listen well. Listening (as my university professors liked to say) is not a passive state, listening is an intense and active state. Listening properly makes you an equal partner in the transaction, not just a blank face and a pair of ears. Listening means using your ears to capture words, and also to sense their tone, inflection and volume: the small changes that can tell you more than the words can.

Listening means watching how the person moves when they talk: do they fidget or stand still, are they combative or defensive or open in their stance.

Listening means you invest that most precious of commodities – time – in allowing the speaker to share a little piece of how they see the world, what it feels like, means, takes, to be them in this world.

You are becoming the witness, the carrier, of part of their precious story of life.

So, dear reader, I am listening, what does it mean to be you?

5 thoughts on “Midweek Mantra: Listen and Understand

  1. this is so important and something that I (double emphasize that it’s uppercase on purpose…lol) often need to remind myself. or mostly that i talk and talk and talk and talk!! i do think i’m a rather perceptive person and i do really listen to people, but at the same time i think sometimes i need to remember less is more in the wordage department. 😛
    listening to me means being actively engaged. my mind is looking if there are some valuable words i can give them back. if not, it’s mostly just allowing them to ‘lean’ on you and get whatever they need off their chest.

    • I find myself needing a reminder sometimes too, especially in new social situations. I think sometimes I try to get my nerves about by talking and talking too 🙂
      And you are right, it’s about being perceptive and knowing when to give your valuable words, and when to just be the shoulder to lean on 🙂

  2. I’m not one for baring my soul, but I do love to hear people’s stories. That’s probably strange for some one with a blog where strangers can read about my life. But I keep it pretty light and fun – not deep and meaningful – which I guess, is my style.

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