The Art of Listening

By: T.W. Winslow

This past Mother's Day, I was recalling all of the things that make my own mom so wonderful and special. One of the things that came to mind was, no matter what problem I had or predicament I got myself into growing up, I knew I could always turn to her for comfort and advice. There was, and still is, something almost therapeutic about going to her with my problems.

As I was thinking about this, it dawned on me that it wasn't so much what she said that gave me so much comfort, but rather that she cared enough to really listen. She understood the meaning and value of being a good listener. Letting me ramble on and on about my problems, she carefully listened to me without interjecting her opinion or cutting me off to regale me with her own tale of woe.

How many times have you tried to unburden yourself by confiding in a friend your problem or dilemma, but before you can finish or really let out all of your thoughts and emotions, they say, "I know just what you mean. I had the very same thing happen to me and...," then they proceed in telling you all about a similar problem they had? Though they might think they're being helpful, what they're really telling us is that our problem isn't unique and they have neither the time nor inclination to fully listen to us - to try understand how we feel and what our needs may be.

The fact is, many of us struggle with similar problems, but as we are all individuals, these problems affect each of us differently. This is something my mom understood well, and showed it by giving her time and attention to truly listen.

Thinking of this has given me further appreciation for my mother and all she's done for me, and has inspired me to try and become a better listener myself. The simple act of carefully listening to someone's problems can have tremendous healing power, and can give much needed comfort and relief. Believe me, I know this to be true - Thanks mom!

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