The first great act of love is to listen. That may sound too basic however more relationships have failed because people do not listen to each other than from any other topic. All other marital issues can be traced back to a lack of listening. Listening is a simple skill, one we all think we do well when in reality we are usually just waiting for our turn to talk.
Listening requires that we give our full attention to the person talking, be it on the phone, on the screen or face to face. Sure we can pretend we are paying attention however most people can tell when we’re not. Put down the devices, mute the television, stop what you are doing and give that person your full attention. By behaving that way they know they are important and what they are sharing matters.
Unfortunately we do not listen as a habit. We think we get the just of what was said, missing most of what was meant to be shared, which in essences is not listening. If you do not think people listen to you, the real question to ask yourself is do you COMPLETELY listen to them? Maybe they are only reflecting back to you the behaviors you practice everyday. Our lack of attention has consequences and eventually people stop paying attention because you don’t.
The greatest form of abuse is neglect, and not listening is a form of neglect. Take time to listen to people, COMPLETELY listen. You may be pleasantly surprised about how your relationships change for the better. The people in your life – family, colleagues, spouses, children, and your community – are worth the effort. Give it a try…or as Yoda says, there is no try there is only do.