Yes, listening is an art. After all, not everyone knows how to do it. And staying silent until the other person stops talking is not the same as listening. Thinking about what you want to say while the other person explains their idea is not the same as listening.
Listening means processing what you hear, giving it meaning and really trying to understand it. To understand from another person’s perspective what they are trying to share with you. In that sense, silence sometimes says much more than words. And that’s why it’s important to learn how to use it.
In many cases, listening is nothing more than that, just listening. You don’t have to say anything afterwards. But it takes trust. You need to understand the feelings of the person telling their story and try to connect with them. It also requires investment, which comes from patience and being focused on others.
You will understand that listening opens a door to someone’s heart as soon as you stop listening to yourself. The moment you stop thinking about your own problems and start opening your eyes to the pain of others, you really start to hear what they are telling you. At least in that moment, you care a little more about their lives than your own.
You’ll want to hear how they really feel and not just how you think they feel. You will want them to feel that you are there for them. And that you won’t stop at saying simple things like: ‘I know’, ‘Me too’, ‘I understand’. Because these things on their own don’t really help. You will simply be there, by their side, with a listening ear.
Listening is an art, create the ideal environment to apply it
This ideal environment is peaceful. You want silence, although, to be honest, it is sometimes uncomfortable. But it is necessary. Silence gives us space to think about and process the words we hear.
If you can handle the silence, you get a relaxed, undisturbed environment. By really listening, you can get hints about what the other person needs. And this is only possible if you sincerely focus on his story and how he tells it.
Silence is a pause that invites the other person to continue talking. Silence also helps you to listen to yourself. Finally, silence is also a stage to speak up, especially for people who are not very talkative and need a nudge before they are brave enough to speak up.
Just close your eyes and listen
Just close your eyes, purse your lips and open your ears. Disconnect your brain and connect your heart. Now you are ready to listen. Everything around you has its own sound and when you speak you cannot hear it. Everyone who talks to you tells you something about who he is and what he’s been through. You can’t really get to know others if you only listen to yourself.
Stop using words meant to end the conversation and silence the other person. That’s not listening. Sometimes listening means not responding or answering. Or maybe it calls for a simple response, such as a hug or a smile when the other person has finished talking.
Focus on creating a context where you can listen and nothing more. Focus on your willingness to hear what the other person wants to tell you. That way you can respond appropriately and you will know better what to say or do.
Listening is an art because it connects people with colorful brushstrokes. Listening is an art because it gives you the opportunity to learn something you didn’t know before. It gives you access to new worlds and new emotions. Listening is an art because it gives you a way to help.