A few years ago, I was struggling with not being able to talk as much whenever I found myself in a social setting. I felt that I did not know as much to contribute to the conversation. So I focused on listening and I enjoyed just doing that. I seem to have a knack for it since a lot of people seem to talk freely when in my presence. Maybe because I listen earnestly that is why they open up. I guess the authentic interest in the other allowed them to let their guard down. I realized that the ability is both a gift and a skill.
I say it is a skill because I was just recently called out for not listening fully. I noticed that I tend to finish someone’s sentence as a way of expressing that I totally get what they were saying. But doing so cuts people’s train of thought. I also might end up assuming otherwise and end up getting less information and insight than what I should have gained from the interaction. As a skill we need to practice over and over again, being conscious of how we listen. The intent to listen with genuine attention is an everyday workout.
Listening is a gift we give to ourselves and to others. When we are enraptured and curious about what one is saying, we learn. The focused attention allows for hyper learning. It is a gift to others because of our genuine presence to them. It is a gift of time as we set aside other things with the intent to spend the time to just sit and listen. This specifically holds true for someone like me whose language of love is time. Simply listening is not so bad after all. The quiet and open heart is one of the greatest things we can offer to the world.