Silence is a most important tool.
Just Listen Being Listened To What happens when you talk to someone who pays attention and doesn’t shift the conversation?
o You feel like what you say won’t be judged or redirected
o There are pauses – maybe even long pauses o You are encouraged to go beyond surface thoughts to a deeper level of thinking you may not know you had
o You experienced being really listened to – perhaps for the first time
With respect to how you deal with the world, you are different after being listened to than before. It is important to talk and be expressive. Some thoughts may not even be formulated so you have the freedom to explore truth telling. Truth telling is telling what is true from your perspective at the moment. Truth telling is a transformational process.
Just listening is listening in a special way. It is a kind of listening that is missing in most places in our lives. Listening is a profound gift that offers a relationship and acceptance of the other. It allows you to be a supporting person in the conversation. Our culture trains us to “not say” what we are truly thinking. This leaves us suppressed and constrained by whatever we can’t say. Listening to people in a profound way and then responding appropriately during and after the conversation can begin to change this cultural norm. To respond appropriately is to listen and act in a way that leads people to trust that they can say anything to you and that you will not judge or assess either them or what they say. This can be communicated by simply nodding, perhaps saying “yes” or “got it” but in no way telling your own story or truth until the other has had a complete opportunity to fully express him/herself. Listening, just listening, is a gift that allows someone to truly express themselves and it is what makes inquiry work.
“Oh the comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts or measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are–chaff and grain together–certain that a faithful hand will take them and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” –Dinah Mulock