The Art of Listening

   There are so many sounds that fall on our ears but we are unaware of them. Beginning from the chirping of the birds, the hum of the bees, the sounds of the horns and the passing traffic we daily absorb so many sounds unconsciously; they just remain in the background of our minds. Listening is in our genes; if we don't listen we cannot respond to anything around us. Listening is an art which everyone must possess.
   As we grow up we speak more and listen less. We want others to listen to us but we never make conscious efforts to listen to others. This leads to miscommunication in the world. It is time for us to learn a lot from the ones who are active listeners. When we listen to someone, we make them feel valued, secure and understood. We accept them as they are by loving and appreciating them. You owe a lot to that person who listens, really listens to you. The person may have listened to you and advised you, may have been your guide to the right path or would have shown you a clear path that was unclear. In the process you have learnt some hidden truths about you. But above all this little act of listening to someone has affirmed your self in all you did and said.
   Most of the times are responses are programmed because we never bother to listen to the other. When listening to a person face to face; we not only listen to the conversation but also pay heed and listen to the nonverbal communication that the person communicates with us. At times, this nonverbal communication may contradict with what the person is saying to us. In a telephonic conversation we cannot see the person but we can judge the person by the tone, volume and feel the care, concern and openness towards us. Similarly, we can also find hostility and indifference through these factors.
   According to American psychiatrist Karl A. Menninger, who calls listening as "a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force". Menninger states that "The friends who listen to us are the ones we move towards. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand." By listening to others we show them the respect we have towards them. When a student actively listens to a teacher s/he is not only shows due respect to the teacher for the knowledge and skills, but also respects the teacher as a person.
   Listening has a healing effect on us when someone listens to our stories. It has the capacity to cure illness and trauma. Henri Nouwen, a priest and author has said, " Somewhere we know that without silence, words lose their meaning; that without listening, speaking no longer heals; that without distance, closeness cannot cure."Listening is an essential part of our existence. We can be trained listeners as listening is an art which we all can cultivate. More than what we speak during the course of a day, our learning begins from what we listen. Form the habit of listening to overcome most of your issues and misunderstandings.


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