I always told my university students that the most important part of communication is listening. In the public speaking class for instance, students spent about 10 minutes presenting. The rest of the three hour class they spent listening to each other. Not just passively either, but with interest. By fully listening, they provided each other with friendship, support and encouragement. They became better speakers because they were really listened to.
The ability to listen well served me when I had my PR agency. I spent countless hours listening to my clients on the phone and in meetings. By listening, my clients felt understood and it built the trust they had in me.
Also my very best, most precious friendships are built on the mutual listening that we give each other. Sitting across from each other, we share stories and listen. A real exchange where no one is checking updates on their phone.
And yet, with my own self, I spent so many years ignoring what I had to say inside. Whether it was my body communicating with me or my spirit telling me something, I kept too busy to pay attention.
It takes an effort to do it. It’s a lot easier to distract myself than to sit quietly so I can hear.
I am finding that when I do slow down, and bring my consciousness to myself, that I immediately feel a little or a lot better. I feel more connected. Part of me relaxes in knowing that she is not alone. She is with a dear friend who is giving her time. She is being seen. Listening is enough.