What If All We Need Is Someone to Listen?
When I was a teenager, I felt like no one ‘heard’ me when I talked. So, for the most part, I stopped talking about things that were important to me. It’s hard to admit it but, my family, for various reasons, simply wasn’t equipped to listen. I can only remember a few people in my life who would listen to me and really hear what I saying. When they did, I felt seen AND heard and valued.
For over 20 years, I’ve been mentoring owners of small and start-up businesses. I learned one important thing over those years. Most business owners just need someone to listen. To hear themselves say things out loud. Sometimes they need an idea or the voice of experience, but real progress happens when they talk and I listen attentively, generously. The source of their issues becomes clearer. New solutions emerge.
Can I Be a Good Listener?
I used to think, how can my listening help someone else? As a “wounded” person, I thought my experience as an ‘unheard’ person would prevent me from being a good listener. It turns out, that my wounds, helped me to become a better listener. Without my ‘own’ difficulties, I wouldn’t be able to identify with those of others. I recently read these wise words:
“My loneliness enables me to recognize the loneliness in other people. Even when their sadness is covered over; I sit with them; and I know that just by sitting with them, eventually they will find what they need in order to move forward.” Rachel Naomi Remen
We All Can Listen
If you are wondering what to get someone for a gift this holiday season; how about an hour of listening? Not just having a conversation, but really being fully engaged in what they are saying. Not planning what I’m going to say next, not filling in the silences, not interrupting. Just attentively listening to my loved ones and friends. It’s free, it’s generous, it comes from the heart.
How does it feel when someone listens generously to you?
Image credit: Listen, A studio for Unlimited Ideas
What do you think?