“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”
Ralph G. Nichols
The alarm clock rings. You feel stressed and exhausted, but work doesn’t wait. You wake up, rush to the toilet and wash your face.
You realise to be alive and reach the kitchen. The intense smell of coffee permeates the room, but you have no time to notice it. You swallow the cup of coffee and jump right into your car. After fighting down the streets for 20-30 minutes you finally get to work. Your boss is already there, waiting for you.
Work is hard, but you work tirelessly, completing a task after another. After a short break for lunch you dive again into your talks. The day goes fast, you feel like you have no time to lose.
Work is finally over, but it’s late. You need to get back home, prepare dinner and enjoy your hardly gained spare time. Tomorrow is going to be another hard day.
Day after day you keep following the same routine. You keep chasing that spare time which seems to get shorter and shorter. What you truly miss is the overwhelming majority of your day. And this is because you can’t help but think about you need to do, about what you think you must do.
Pursuing this path makes you completely blind. This endless scheme makes you forget that you are not alone, you are part of a greater picture.
We are chained in this reality where the only thing that matters is achieving and thus we forget to take care of ourselves and others.
Nevertheless from time to time we should dare to stop and devote some of our time to the forgotten art of listening. This way we could manage to realign our lives with our true purposes, with our true needs.
The benefits which true listeners can experience are endless, here are some of them:
- By listening you realise you are not the only one. Too often we believe we are the center of the universe. We insist we are the only ones facing hard times, we tell ourselves that everything is just fine for everyone except for ourselves. We are indeed the center of our own universes. Everyone builds its own reality around her own perceptions and only by opening up to others and truly listening to their needs and desires we can finally realise that most of what we believe true is indeed purely subjective. When you finally learn to listen to others you realise you are not the only one, that many other are facing the same fears you are experiencing, that this journey is not easy but we are not asked to walk through it all alone;
- Listening enables you to build meaningful relationships. Life has a way better taste as we live it with friends and family. Even the most challenging periods can turn out to be essential milestones in our personal lives if we have the chance to experience them along with people who really understand and support us. Having someone who really cares about us is essential to our lives, but in order to build these intimate relationships we are asked to get out from our comfort zone: listening is the primary step in order to build a solid relationship. Only as you prove to be ready to fully listen to other’s needs you will be able to build those meaningful relationships which will highly increase the overall quality of your life;
- Listening helps you realise how to properly serve others. One of our ultimate goals in life should be to properly serve others. When we devote part of our time to others and we decide to pursue the path of compassion, we enchant ourselves. She who helps others is also helping herself: when you reach out and actively seek to fulfil your beloved’s needs you make them happier and more satisfied, but at the same time you feel a sense of realisation that you can experience in no other way. True needs are often the hidden ones and thus can be found out only by true listeners;
- Listening is learning. We should all strive to continuously learn new things, to continuously experience new situations. If we keep living a self-centered life we never get out of our old patterns and routines. We never face the unknown and thus we never grow. By actively listening to others’ opinions and life experiences we can break the chains of our day-to-day lives and open our minds to new horizons. If you believe you are stuck in your current situation or that there is no way you can improve your life you are most likely to be wrong. Get out from your home or surf the internet: you will probably find someone who has already faced the same situation. Learn from his journey, adapt it to your own situation.
- By listening others you learn to listen your inner soul, and to better understand your needs. In the end we should all listen to our true needs and pursue our true passions. But very few manage to eventually realise what they truly want. Learning to fully understand others can be a first step toward a better understanding of ourselves.
What do you think about this post? Do you think you are actively listening to the most important people in your life? What do you think are the most important benefits of listening? Please let me know in the comments below!
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