Do you give the gift of listening? Need some tips on becoming a better listener.
Real listening can be learned. Research and books such as The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships, by Michael Nichols, and Mortimer Adler’s How to Speak, How to Listen agree.
?Anyone can learn to be a good listener. While some might be better at this skill than others, listening isn’t about being educated, rich or popular. (Although being a good listener can lead to being well-liked.)
⌚️Listening takes time—and who has a lot of that? It’s about ignoring the urge to interrupt with your own great story. Listen to be able to repeat what you heard in order to confirm you heard it right.
?Listening is unselfish. Stopping long enough to listen letting others know you value them, and they are essential to you.
As author Michael Nichols puts it, “Listening isn’t a need we have; it’s a gift we give.”
Listening during your caring season might seem like a luxury because time is so in demand but learning to listen well will make many things easier. Listening to the one you are caring for helps them feel seen and valued. Learning to listen to other family members will help you build a formidable team since each person knows they are needed.
Here are a few facts about listening which can help to increase your listening skills:
?Listening is active. Many of us think of listening as a passive act, just showing up. But real listening requires paying attention, not just to words, but body language and sometimes to what is not being said. It also means responding, not in words but with our facial expressions, head nods, and exclamations (“uh huh”) that show we are present.
?Listening means turning off the noise inside our heads and hearts. To listen we have to ignore all those voices inside, those judgments and criticisms…Oh, I would never have done that or He just doesn’t know what it’s like to really have it hard. It means ignoring the urge to advise and give suggestions (unless asked) and not trying to “fix” the problem or change the other person. Most people don’t want advice, solutions, criticisms, or our own stories—they just want to be heard.
?Listening means no defenses. Often, when someone tells us something we don’t want to hear, we shut down. Or we lash out or justify. True listening requires putting aside our emotional responses and the need to defend ourselves.
Listening can be much tougher than we think when we try to learn to improve our listening skills and offer the gift of listening to others.
What stands out to you that might help you be a better listener?
Rayna Neises understands the joys and challenges that come from a season of caring. She helped care for both of her parents during their separate battles with Alzheimer’s over a thirty-year span. She is able to look back on those days now with no regrets – and she wishes the same for every woman caring for aging parents.
To help others through this challenging season of life, Rayna has written No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season, a book filled with her own heart-warming stories and practical suggestions for journeying through a caregiving season. She is also the editor of Content Magazine– Finding God in Your Caregiving Season. Rayna is an ICF Associate Certified Coach with certifications in both Life and Leadership Coaching from the Professional Christian Coaching Institute.
Read other articles by Rayna
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