Listening is Loving

by Kenneth Wallace - Date: 2007-02-17 - Word Count: 512 Share This!

When you really listen to other human beings you are:

• honoring their unique presence in the universe

• paying tribute to their distinctive manifestation of life

• presenting yourself as a student of their particular experiences within the world

• expressing respect for the individual embodiment of creation with whom you are communicating

• demonstrating your willingness to understand their current situations, filled as they might be with challenges, problems, heartbreaks, failure, opportunities, victories, successes and joys

• purposely and purposefully subordinating yourself to them in order to be better able to serve their immediate needs for self-expression, self-validation, self-acceptance, self-understanding and gaining proper perspective on their situations to determine appropriate and beneficial next steps

When you really listen you are silently saying that you want to learn from others how to live your own life better and enjoy it more. When you listen to others, you are actually loving them because you are putting them first in helping them get what they need at the moment. When I say, "loving," I'm talking about the kind of behavior toward others that originates in the belief that when you serve others you are also serving yourself.

This may sound more like a definition of selfishness, but selfishness originates and stays within one's Self. It never takes into consideration the other person when thinking about how to get its own needs met. But when you start with the other's needs first, and sincerely attempt to meet them, you'll find that your own needs, even if you're not consciously aware of them at the moment, will be fully met, often in surprising and profound ways. Sincere listening accomplishes much more than merely transferring information and knowledge from one person to another. It engenders the experience of love between human beings.

The great motivational speaker and one of my personal mentors, Zig Ziglar, is famous for saying, "You can get whatever you want if you help enough other people get what they want." I think this is a good way of looking at the power and the purpose of concerted and intentional listening.

The following poem, written by one of my favorite poets, "Anonymous," describes well how love can be expressed in the process of true listening.


When I ask you to listen to me,

And you start giving me advice,

You have not done what I asked.

When I ask that you listen to me,

And you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way,

You are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me,

And you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,

You have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen: All that I ask is that you listen.

Not talk or do -- just hear me.

When you do something for me

That I need to do for myself,

You contribute to my fear and feelings of inadequacy.

But when you accept as a simple fact

That I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational,

Then I can quit trying to convince you

And go about the business

Of understanding what's behind my feelings.

So, please listen and just hear me

And, if you want to talk,

Wait a minute for your turn -- and I'll listen to you.

Related Tags: relationships, communication, power, understanding, confidence, speaking, listening, effectiveness, loving

Ken Wallace, M. Div., CSL has been in the organizational development field since 1973. He is a seasoned consultant, speaker and executive coach with extensive business experience in multiple industries who provides practical organizational direction and support for business leaders. A professional member of the National Speakers Association since 1989, he is also a member of the International Federation for Professional Speaking and holds the Certified Seminar Leader (CSL) professional designation awarded by the American Seminar Leaders Association.

Ken is one of only eight certified Business Systems Coaches worldwide for General Motors.

His topics include ethics, leadership, change, communication & his unique Optimal Process Design(r) program.

Tel:(800)235-5690 Claim your FREE Leadership Self-Evaluation Checklist and your FREE 5-Day Mini-Course on how to get off your mark and into the life of your dreams, "Get It Done By Tomorrow!" by visiting the Better Than Your Best website.

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