Have you ever listened to someone in order to gather evidence that what he or she is saying is wrong?
Have you ever felt yourself lying in wait until the person phrases something in a way that you can grab and throw back, killing what might have been a fragile thought trying to become better formed?
That kind of listening is geared to winning rather than connecting. People often use words and ideas to build walls of confrontation. We harden our hearts and build walls that might have been bridges.
I like the idea of listening softly and being changed by what I hear. Even as I write these words, I feel my heart melt a bit.
As our country hardens into opposing positions, the best way forward may to soften into compassion and understanding. Don’t miss this article by Heather McGhee, President of Demos. What she describes in other terms is the process of listening softly with a willingness to be changed.
I’m going to try that this week.
Listen Softly and Be Open to Change
Is it too much to ask you to have one conversation every day in which you listen softly? It needn’t be long or complicated. But you must be open to changing as a result of what you hear.
Notice the difference in how you feel. Does it shift your relationship with the other person? Does it unlock your compassion?
Share your soft listening experience in the comments below. Or, go gently over to Facebook share it there.