Fabiola Nguembu – The power of Listening: A lesson not to take for granted
The world is dominated by capitalism. Everyone is looking for a better position in high society, everything is moving really fast, people are always busy, full of dynamism, and stressed by work and life in the city. In this fast-paced world, giving attention to the sounds, the voices and the screams of others around us becomes more and more difficult. Effective listening has now become a rare gift.
Listening can indeed be a big word, with many facets, however, for the purpose of this article, I would like to focus on listening as the motivation to attend to others ; understanding, receiving and interpreting content and relational messages rather than just hearing. Based on this perspective, I would say that listening is the capacity to dedicate time to people around you, to be sensitive to what happens in your environment, to understand what the people around you feel and how they are actually faring.
Sometimes it is important to take a break and listen to the beautiful souls around you. Listen deep, keep quiet to allow the other person express themself, be ready to receive their distress, their uncertainties and the difficulties of others.
All of us have at one time or another experienced a failure, it could be a broken heart, not finding a job, loosing a loved one or not achieving a goal. At every given point in life, there is always
This voice which is looking for an ear
This heart which is looking for a connection
This speech which is looking for a recipient
This idea which is looking for an avenue for sharing
This emotion which is looking for a soul
This person who is looking for special attention
This Consumer who is looking for a suitable product.
These do not necessarily require you to abandon yourself or your own wellbeing, but to just be present in the lives of people who are in need. Most of the time, when people are facing difficulties, they are not automatically looking for an answer, but only for someone who will have their time, someone who would give them some attention. As Stephen Covey said, «listen with the intent to understand, not the intention of replying ». Often times, for people in distress, the first solution for them is to find an avenue to share theirs feelings, their thoughts. Make people trust in you and afford them a space of sharing. Your encouragement is best with a silent attention. If they are emotional, accept their emotional state without criticism and without saying « please don’t cry » when we really mean « please don’t upset me ». If someone is moved to tears, one of the most powerful things you can do is to allow them to cry.
It is also about listening without judging. At this point, I should say that it is very important to be neutral, to respect the thoughts and views of people. We must exclude our own preconceptions and any interpretation, while empathizing and remaining benevolent. To create a space of trust where words can be heard without influence, doubtless and ambiguity. This special listening allows us to realise what can help the person in the difficult situation, what is important for him or her. As Jean paul Sartre said « we do not judge the people, we love them ». Accept people as they are and appreciate them, take them as a part of your life. This neutral and loving situation would enable the listener to lead the other person to understand what he really desires i.e. his own choice, solution and contribute to make him feel better.
My goal with this article is not to teach how to listen to people, but to make you realise that it is important to listen because people who have been listened to in this way often become more emotionally mature, more open to their experiences, less defensive, more considerate. We should focus less on changing our material world and be more attentive and open to the cries of others, not forgeting that somethings which can be little for you could mean so much for someone else. Keep helping people and love them. Listen and listen again. Your ears have value, you just need to learn how to use them.
Everyday, I observe, I listen to people who have needs, values, ambitions, as well as those who are also complaining, looking for the best suitable offer, who need to be understood. I hope I am listening them well, I hope that i’m trying to better understand them and that i’m able to contibute to help them to find their solutions.
I just want to understand you, I want you to know that I am the kind of person you can talk to, I hope I will have the opportunity to listen to you, so don’t worry, leave a comment.
Fabiola Nguembu is a Critical thinker, researcher, curious, passionate about cultures, traditions, life, photography, reading and social facts. She is a self-learner, focused on people, and motivated by challenges. She lives and works in Dakar, Senegal.