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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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Listening to others in a non-judgmental way takes hard work on many levels

Listening to others in a non-judgmental way takes hard work on many levels

Has anyone ever yelled at you and said, “You’re not listening to me!”

Or sometimes I wonder whether God yells at us with the same message, “You’re not listening to me!”

Listening to others is so important yet it takes a lot of work. The following reflection is called “Please Listen.” The author is Leo Buscaglia. I will use paragraphs from the poem and add my own insights.

“When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving me advice, you have not done what I asked.”

We all have a tendency to want to “fix” people. If someone is pouring out their heart to you, we may want to ease their pain or show them possible solutions to their difficulties. However, that’s not want they want or need. They want someone to listen to them without judging them. They want an understanding heart, not a head with all the solutions.

“When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.”

Again, when we listen with our hearts and not our heads, we can emphasize with another’s feeling. Feelings and emotions are neither good nor bad. They are an expression of how we feel at a certain time. Feelings can come and go. Dismissing another person’s feeling is to disregard that person. It’s important to take everyone where they are.

“When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.”

Listening is hard work because we want to give our opinion and thoughts to help “solve the problem.” However, listening is listening. God gave us two ears and one mouth so we can listen more and talk less. (We usually do the opposite). Again, listening and fixing are two different things. People want to be understood, not fixed.

“I am not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless. When you do something for me that I canand need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.”

Most people have the answers to their problems within themselves. What they are looking for is not some “guru” who has all the answers to life’s problems. They want a non-judgmental person who will allow them to vent their frustrations so they can get out the feelings harboring within. Once spoken, the individual can usually see what needs to be done.

“But when you accept as a simple fact that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can stop trying to convince you and get about this business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.”

The relationship we have with ourselves is most important. We all have various fears and secrets from the past that we carry around with us. We have all made mistakes that we may consider shameful or embarrassing. It’s important that we live in the present, not the past. God forgives us. We have to forgive ourselves. A non-judgmental person can help us do this.

“So please listen, and just hear me. And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn – and I will listen to you.”

We all want to be heard and understood. First, we need to be focused on the speaker who wants to be heard and understood. An old proverb says, “Speech is silver, but silence is golden.”

Be silent so we can really listen to others. Be silent so we can listen to God. Afterward, we will have our turn to give our silvery speech.