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Truly listening

When was the last time you sat down with someone and just listened?

I mean simply sitting there and giving them the space to express their feelings, sort their thoughts, say what needs to be said, …

The opposite approach is the default. How often do we feel the need to jump into the conversation with advice and recommendations. To cut the conversation short as soon as we think that we got the gist of it … jumping to conclusions before they even finished their thought … filling in any blanks as soon as a slight pause occurs.

If we resist that urge it paves the way for the others to open up. If we allow them to make a pause when they look for the right words they are much more likely to actually find the words that express their thoughts and feelings accurately. When, after that pause, we’re still there to listen, I mean truly listen, that’s what makes them feel heard.

No judgement. No advice. Just your presence and the willingness to listen.

We’re living in a world that’s more connected than ever before. We have hundreds of connections and we send thousands of messages each day.

And yet, feeling heard is still as rare and precious as ever.

I’m lucky to have people in my life who have that gift of listening. Who make people feel heard. You know who you are.

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Picture of Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz