You might not realize this but listening can actually change lives. When someone speaks, do you really hear what they are saying? Do you go beyond the meanings behind their words or do you simply watch as their mouths close and open to try to articulate their thoughts?
How do you talk to your friends?
When we have friends who talk to us about their problems and their concerns, we often anticipate and hang on to their every word so can come up with a cohesive response to them. But sometimes, you need to go beyond communicating with someone verbally in order to really connect with that person. More than being an effective communicator, you need to show your empathy because that, after all, is the reason why our friends confide with us. They want us to understand them and help them sort their feelings out.
When you simply listen for the purpose of replying, you are not really listening with your heart. Listening with your heart is a practice that a lot of us need to learn. On one hand, it may seem like a trivial matter, but the reality is that listening with your heart can actually change lives. It serves as an assurance to the person you are talking to that they are really getting through you. It gives them the impression that someone is making an effort to understand them.
Listening to someone can be tough at times, especially when you feel that you do not really have the time to give the other person your full attention. If this is the case, try to tell the person who confides in you that now is not a good time. Then, suggest how soon you can clear your schedule to talk to them. This will help people realize that even though they cannot be a priority at that point, you are still making an effort to listen to them. And for some people, that is incredibly important.
At times, our need for someone to listen to us wholeheartedly transcends our need for reassuring words. Regardless of whether the person you confided in actually has a lot of insights to share with you or not, the simple act of actively listening can make you feel that you matter. It also makes you feel respected and cared for.
For people who see life as a race where you need to up your pace in order to join in the competition, it might be a challenge to slow down and listen to what others have to say. But if the person who needs you to listen to them is someone you hold close to your heart, make time for them and give them the empathy they need. People who are on the verge of despair and are at the lowest points in their life are anxious and plagued with insecurities and negativities. You can help them cope by simply listening to them and allowing God’s grace to flow through you.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
– Proverbs 18:24
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