Families, communities, and nations are stronger when individuals learn to listen to each other with love. Listening with love makes a difference in the willingness of the speaker to discuss problems because no one wants to share deep feelings with a person who does not care enough to listen.
An important thing to remember is that we can hear someone say something but not really be listening to them. Nicholeen Peck posted an article titled “10 Lessons for Listening with Love,” and she gives some powerful reasons for doing so.
1. Focus your whole attention on them. [We cannot be multi-tasking and truly listen.]
2. Silence is okay. [Both the speaker and the listener sometimes need time to process thoughts.]
3. Sometimes just think but don’t say. [The speaker will know that we are listening to them if we are looking at them.]
4. Look at the person. [We can show that we love them and care about them with our eyes.]
5. Judging first is always a trap. [Allow the speaker to tell their full story and give all the facts before jumping to a conclusion.]
6. Analyze their words before planning your words. [Spend some time thinking about their words before speaking.]
7. Value them and their experiences. [When we listen with love, we let our loved one know that they have value in our life, and we allow them to fully share their experience without jumping in to tell one of our own.]
8. Recognize that when they say something, they might have just heard it for the first time and could change their mind later. [Sometimes we need to put an experience into words before we can see it clearly.
9. Ask questions. [Your questions can show that you are listening and that you do care.]
10. Repeat back what they said. [When we repeat back key points, it shows that we listened to what they were saying, and it gives the speaker time to consider what else they wish to say.]
There are numerous relationships that can be strengthened by listening with love. How many wives or husbands long for their spouse to truly listen to them? How many teenagers believe that their parents do not understand them? How many children misbehave in order to get the attention of their parents? Listening with love can solve many problems in a family. It can also make other problems easier to bear. I know that we can learn to listen with love by following the suggestions above. I know that listening with love will strengthen families, and I know that strong families strengthen their communities and nations.