Leo Buscaglia said; “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” I for one, have quite often underestimated the power of a listening ear.
I have been very distracted lately. That usually happens when I have deadlines to beat or when I have personal issues to sort out. Today, I was faced with both deadlines and issues to contend with and as usual, I went into hibernation mode. So much so that when a friend came to talk to me about a few things she was struggling with, I hardly paid any attention. I was typing out a text on my phone, perusing through a book and “paying attention” to her at the same time. Obviously, she was not amused and she went away upset. I am usually more attentive than I was today but I guess we all have days that we’re just trudging through life trying to get to the next point or to accomplish the next task(I am not making up excuses).
In light of this afternoon’s incident with this friend, I came back to my place and did a little self-evaluation. I’ve come to the realization that I’ve acted selfishly on a number of occasions and I’ve not been a supportive sister, friend and colleague. Often times, I’ve gotten impatient with people and I’ve not given them my complete attention when they needed me to. Also, I’ve been a little “Miss Know-it-all” in several instances. Realizing what a mess you are is an interesting eye-opener. I sincerely hope I can be a better friend, daughter and sibling. I do not wish to be a self-absorbed snob who wants people to stand in the gap for her when the going gets tough and she’ll not be there for others when it is “inconvenient”. That means me making more time for people(especially Mundy and Ronnie who I haven’t seen in close to six months), praying for them and loving them even though I cannot be physically present where they are.
Psychologist Carl Faber raises important points in his book, “On Listening”:
“Most people have never really been listened to. They live in a lonely silence- no one knowing what they feel, how they live or what they have done. They are prisoners of the eyes of others, of the stereotyped, limited, superficial and often distorted ways that others see them. There are no words to adequately describe what it is to be free with another person. It is most often a sensing that someone will let us be all of what we are at that moment. We can talk about whatever we wish, express in any way whatever feelings are in our hearts. We can take as much time as we need. We can sit, stand, pace, yell, cry, pound the floor, dance or weep for joy. Whatever and however we are at that moment is accepted and respected.
This experience of freedom and communion helps us to feel that someone is for us. And it is this deep sensing of someone, somewhere, being for us that breaks into the silent loneliness of our lives and encourages us in the struggle to be human. It helps us to break the tyranny of the strangers’ eyes and to give to our lives all that we are capable of giving. Because listening can bring about such powerful healing, it is one of the most beautiful gifts that people can give and receive.”
Do less talking.Live less selfishly. Love more. Be your brother’s(or sister’s) keeper.Take the time to LISTEN; somebody you know needs you to LISTEN.
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”
― Ralph G. Nichols