The Gift of Listening

The Gift of Listening

by Mary Essiet                                              Nigeria                                                19.05.2024

Recently, I enrolled in a listening course as one of the requirements to join a listening group where people can just sign up to talk to someone. And it has been one of the best decisions I have made.
It reminded me of when I had tried to offer solutions to a friend’s problem, when in fact, she only wanted to talk. Poor me, I had even gone ahead to tell her to hope and trust in the Lord. But for someone who felt God didn’t love her anymore, I should have been listening more actively rather than passively with the aim of a response.

Severally, I have ranted to God and he never interrupted me. He is never about chastising me or suggesting a way forward, he allows me to go on and on with my complaints and that is in itself relieving and therapeutic. I believe that God wants us to let this healing of having a listener pass through us to others. It would make so much difference if we all consciously worked towards being great listeners.

In our world today, with so much noise around, active listening has become such a rare, yet powerful gift. Listening seems like a simple act yet so impactful. It gives room for connections and allows you to walk through the path of others, feeling the emotions in their whispers/words or even the absence of both making you better equipped to show empathy and compassion.

Today, the majority seem eager to speak, but few are willing to truly listen. However, I know we do, we wish to hear and understand others, the emotions in their eyes, fear in their voice, the increased heartbeat, we want to connect with it all. We want others to know that when they wish to speak, our ears are open and our attention undivided. We probably just needed a reminder.

Are you wondering how I knew? Haha… because there is so much we can achieve through it.

Listening is hearing without judgment
Understanding without interruption
Observing in silence
With compassion and zero pretense.

It means stretching out a hand
To those in darkness that they may hold
So that together we may walk the dark path with an open heart
Climbing the hills and valleys, crossing the bridges until we see the light

All these can be achieved by first, a strong resolve to listen with intent. Let us take one communication at a time, Poco a Poco we will make the world a more compassionate place.

Mary Essiet is a native of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, and a medical student who heals through writing.