Listen to Understand

Written April 15, 2017

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

Have you ever listened to 2 children fight? Once you get passed the cuteness factor and reminiscing of your own years, look and notice how they argue and fight. Do you see something vaguely familiar? They yell at each other to get the other to listen and see things go their way. Each one getting a increasingly louder until they’re screaming at each other.

This is what we do even as adults when we discuss hot button topics. Each person getting more and more loud just to get a point across. As the years go by I see this(and have done it myself) happen 99% of the time with the same results. Since neither person can hear what the other is saying, even if it’s something the two can agree on, usually nothing is accomplished and both people separate still angry.

I’ve sat here in my comfy outfit, in my comfy home, in a safe calm neighborhood, watching history unfold on the news. All I’ve seen is protesters destroy yet another city in the name of inequality or injustice of some sort. So much shouting, looting, burning of businesses, stuff being thrown at the police and the police throwing the stuff back at the people and so on.  Even the politicians in Washington DC protest in their own way. There is just so much hatred everywhere. I’m not just referring to any one particular city either. I’ve seen it Anytown, Any State USA. I’ve even seen it overseas in other countries. Each side of the fighting says that they’re right and blames the other side for the situations they are in. Truth is that both sides are right and both sides to blame.

How can we possibly bring about peace this way? What may help is for all of this fighting to end. Stop the yelling, stop the chants about the cause, stop the gun shots, and stop throwing things at each other.  As my dear friend, Doug wrote, “Listen to the Spaces between the Words…Listen, in Silence it is Perfected.” When the fighting stops and all is quiet we can listen to each other. We can hear what each side would like to see changed(within reason of course) and maybe come to a solution to end much of the fighting. Protesting is fine until it gets to the point of violence towards each other.

A couple of dear friends taught me a very valuable lesson some time ago. One time when I was in a really big fight with someone, they gave me some unbiased suggestions. They said that the viscous cycle of back and forth of words needed to break between this other person and me. They suggested that, when a discussion gets heated, I need stop adding fuel to the fire. Stop the texting/messaging etc., walk away for a while, then check back later when cooler heads prevail. Even if I am the one who’s right. I was pleasantly surprised how well this worked!

There is SO MUCH turmoil in the world today and the thing about it is that most of it is senseless and unnecessary. We need to move past our issues and we can’t do that very well if we’re yelling at each other, right? I remember my mom telling me many years ago that my Higher Power gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason. I’m guessing she meant that I should listen more and talk less.

Today may I ask all who are reading this to send prayers, ask for blessings for the various parts of the world. Ask that your Higher Power bless the people with peace and love in their hearts as well as the strength and courage to sit down and talk to each other.

Thought for the day: Today let’s try more to listen with the intent to understand.

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