Recently, I was reminded about the power of listening.
A good friend was visiting our family and after lunch he began to ask us questions about our lives…and then he listened to our answers…and then he asked more questions….and then he listened to our answers…!
One of the most wonderful aspects of the experience was that this person was already a good friend, not someone we had just met. And yet he was still interested in learning more about us and our story.
The whole experience was value-inducing.
On a personal level, it felt really good that someone who already knows me still desires to know me more. And it felt really good that he wasn’t asking questions and listening so that he could later prove a point, tell me something about himself, or sell me something. He was just caring for me, knowing me, serving me and loving me…by simply listening to me.
Somehow, it hit a core desire that I have – to be known – and it was a very tangible and experiential way for my friend to show his love for me.
I received a wonderful gift that day and it’s one that I hope to frequently pass on – the gift of demonstrating others’ value to them (and my love for them) by getting outside of myself enough to listen to them, to ask them meaningful questions, and to get to know their story.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the following questions:
How often do I think I already know enough about my friends and family?
How often do I miss the opportunity to show others how valuable they are?
How often do I operate with pre-conceived versions of others’ stories?
How often do I pass judgment based on bad intel?
How often do I live in isolation because I’m so concerned about me and my world that I don’t take the time to listen to those around me?
There is great power in listening: value-inducing power.
Listen on. Question on. Love on.