You can possess one of the most admirable personalities in the world, but if you are not acquainted with the art of listening, the beauty in your personality is multiplied by zero. Listening isn’t the lone job of your ears; it demands full attention of your senses and spirit. It means you abandon yourself for the duration of that moment, step out of your ‘self’ and make a house in the speaker’s mind. It means you fully take into account the nuances of the situation. It demands generosity of your perception.
To listen is to seize the moment, surrender yourself to what they are saying and truly fall in love with what’s being spoken. This is all done when you completely and overwhelmingly abandon your reaction. That smirk, that twitch, that negative nod, that frown, that sigh. Control that. Your slightest reaction, however insignificant it is, can violate the speaker’s process. Why? The one communicating to you has deemed you worthy enough to be a participant to their intimate disclosure process. They have honored you by entrusting the trivialities or oddities of their life with you. If you cannot respect their decision, you do not deserve to share that moment with them.
How many of us do that? Unfortunately, very few of us do. The tragedy is not that most of us humans are incapable of listening well. The tragedy is that hardly anyone ‘tries.’
We are so caught up in our own problems that whenever someone entrusts us with theirs, we are reminded of ourselves. While that is natural, it is in your control to delay your reaction. Whatever you say to them while they are in the process of speaking won’t affect them. You are not contributing anything even if you come up with a reply. But if your replies are not thoughtful, you might commit the biggest of sins in an interpersonal interaction: Block all room for them to give you that space again. They will suffer depending on what you said or did, which was so off-putting they end up regretting their decision to trust you. Remember, trust isn’t a constant. It is fluid. In long term interactions, its path is bumpier. There are more chances for you to damage it. You are not at your best all the time. But does it mean that we shouldn’t strive to be our best at any given moment in the day?
Bad communication is the bane of bad relations, even more so in our society where people invest little thought into how they communicate. A sincere, fulfilling interaction happens when the two persons willingly strive to make it productive. The key is to stay true to your deepest self as much as you can.