Listen to be Heard
Words are powerful. Once spoken cannot be taken back. Argument is a war in which everyone loses. No minds are changed and relationships are injured and may be lost. A battle to convince another that you are right is futile and communication will not develop because neither is able to hear what the other is trying to say.
The kind of understanding that leads to conflict resolution is gained by listening until the heart cry of the other is heard. This type of listening requires that our needs, desires, feelings, perspective, and prejudices are set aside so that we are able to focus on the other person’s attempt to express the cry of their heart. This kind of selflessness is one of the most difficult tasks that we will ever attempt. The concern that hinders is, “If I look past my feelings and needs and listen attentively to yours, there is no guarantee that you will listen in the same manner to me.”
Relationships are a risk. But until we are willing to take that risk, a mutually fulfilling, growing, healthy relationship is not possible. For most of us, it is very difficult to define and express what our needs are. This makes it difficult for us to put our needs into words which others can understand. Until we feel safe with the other person, we will not take the risk to become vulnerable by expressing these needs. This is why listening is so important. When we take the risk to listen, the other person eventually feels safe enough to express their needs in terms which we will be able to comprehend. This is when we will begin to hear their heart cry and to understand them.
–Dr. Orville Easterly
Copyright 2011 Orville E. Easterly All Rights Reserved –Do not copy.