Thursday, December 22, 2011

An actual goal for 2012!

I usually make one New Year's Resolution every year, and every year I keep it! That is to not make any stupid New Years Resolutions. While I somewhat laugh when I tell people this, there is much truth to it. I prefer keeping my goal setting - and my attempts to improve myself and my life - an ongoing process.

But you can feel free to call this my New Years Resolution if you'd like. Because it's very important to me that I improve this aspect of my character. Let's call it the Art of Listening. All around me I see people that fail at listening. I realize that I fail at it miserably much of the time.

My sister once lectured (yes, anything over 5 minutes to me is a lecture!) me on the importance of being a good listener. While I did see the points she was beating me over the head with, she surely does not know what I thought of her ideas. I don't think she cared to know. Listening IS caring, one of the most loving things we can give another human being. And conversely, I think there is no greater way to tell someone without a single word that you don't really care about them as you can by not listening to them.

To put aside my own ideas, feelings, and solutions to someone's problems...and to just listen to them, takes real work. To not try and formulate my next thought before they even finish expressing theirs can be baffling as to how hard it is to do. It takes battling that most questionable foe, the ego, to put the other person in the spotlight and leave the spotlight on them, on their need to be heard. I knew my marriage was over when I stopped listening, and when I no longer felt I was being heard.

While not always true, I do think women are better listeners. One big reason I prefer female friends. Not just because they listen better per se, but that I can talk to them about a greater range of subjects and still feel that they are listening. We men can learn much about listening by watching - and hearing, how two women hold a conversation. And there is no feeling like the full attention of a woman to me. At least, as far as I can remember. :O)