I have often found it hard to avoid the temptation of telling people how to do something they are attempting to do in a different way. Different from the way I do it, of course! It has to be easier or I wouldn’t be doing it this way, right? At least, that is what the logical sense side of my brain screams to me. It almost seems natural to tell others our way of doing, seeing, being, etc.
What I have been slow to learn is that we all have ideas on how to do something and many times if we are just present with someone and observing their efforts, we bring a lot to the table. Many of us are overdue for a few “attaboy” pats on the back and are overwhelmed with the telling feature of others.
I’ve learned that asking people questions about what they are doing or how they decided to do a certain task or project is a great way to offer encouragement and acceptance. I am now convinced that people need encouragement much more than they need instruction.
Asking a question and then giving someone the latitude to share their thoughts on it offers acceptance of the differences we have from others. Listening without mentally focusing on how we are going to tell them to do it a better way can bond us together in deeper ways. Active listening offers people the respect and courtesy to share their hearts and ideas without feeling corrected or as if they are in need of “fixing”.
I’ve heard it said that if you give someone 15 minutes to speak, they will tell you everything that is important to them. How much more value could we bring to our relationships if we offered the gift of listening to people who are important to us, and then using what we learn to offer encouragement in their endeavors?
Think about it. People often point out the mistakes, flaws and errors they see in others or in situations. How often do you hear someone comment on how enjoyable something they experienced proved to be? It’s refreshing, but rare.
Take every opportunity to develop the strength of character that is found in truly listening. People will be drawn to you as you, in turn, encourage them and open your heart to share the things you value.
If we pass this idea on to others, we may just find that listening is the most favored of all of the love languages.
Oh, and thanks for listening to my ramblings!
Sheri Geyer is a Realtor and Christian Life Coach.
If this has been an encouragement to you, please share @Sheri_Geyer. Thank you!