A friend told me this – “intent listening is indistinguishable from love.” He meant this as a comment on my listening work, not on my need to be deeply and patiently heard.
I think that I am a listening purist. I don’t want listening to be cluttered with rephrasing, or questions that are supposed to expand my point of view, or “advanced accurate empathy,” or summary statements that are designed to show me that you hear what I am saying.
I just want you to listen intently, without glazing over. And I don’t even need to know your point of view on what I am saying.
My life is cluttered, as is probably yours. When I am listened to, my life becomes somehow less cluttered.
The other day I asked Carole to “just listen to me” without prejudice (my thoughts on “prejudice” in a future blog) and without comment. Being heard by Carole was an amazing experience. I realized that I am more used to listening to others than being listened to, and I really liked being heard! I realized that while the tensions didn’t lessen, nor were the problems solved, my icy grip on them relaxed and I was more at peace.
You might want to try “just listening” with people you care about. You might also ask someone to “just listen” to you.
[You are invited to share your ideas, challenges or anything else on this blog or on my website by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be sure to respond.]