When you listen, you open yourself to new ideas, new experiences and new feelings. We don’t truly listen often as we tend to surround ourselves with people who are familiar to us and share similar opinions and views. It’s no surprise then that very little is learned in a relationship with someone whose views are so similar to yours. What that does is that we then only listen to one perspective on life and though that isn’t wrong, it can be stifling for our personal growth because society is ever changing but we aren’t. If we don’t listen to people around us, we may get left behind. But more importantly, if we don’t listen then we can’t give our own input into the change. Actively listening to the person in front is not only vital for yourself but for society as a whole. But why is listening so important?
Listening is important for two reasons. One – it promotes change. Two – it encourages discussion. I emphasize on listening because very often we tend to pay more attention to our thoughts and our reflections when someone else is talking rather than what the person in front is saying. By actively listening to other people – on TV, in our lives or in the media, we allow ourselves to hear new thoughts and attitudes. We need not agree with the attitude but on hearing it fully, we are in a better position to make a judgment call on that attitude.
Listening is not a passive process it can be a very emotional process too. To listen, comprehend, assume and reflect all while actively paying attention is a lot of work and many times if one does not listen actively it can lead to an emotional response rather than a rational one. We can react to something we thought was being said instead of what was actually being said. In families, relationships, work places, listening and rationalizing before speaking not only avoids miscommunication but also promotes open communication. Keep in mind though that listening to someone and listening well doesn’t mean you endorse someone’s view or opinions, but it definitely opens your mind to the vast amount of opinion that are prevalent around you. It gives you an idea of how society is changing and how people within it are evolving.
The importance of listening is many fold.Next week, I’ll talk about how we can become better listeners.