Why is listening the perfect gift?
How do we feel if we're fully heard and understood? Relieved, perhaps! But much more too. When somebody really listens to us, we feel it viscerally; we sigh deeply, our whole body relaxes and responds; we feel valued, affirmed, respected, confident, happy, empowered and ready to move on, to take the next step. Being fully seen and heard brings possibilities of change. Like all communication when it works well, it naturally carries us forward.
Who's it for?
An empathic listening space is suitable for people of ALL ages! I've yet to meet anyone who isn't thankful when another person catches what they say, or grasps their meaning. Even if being heard doesn't seem important to us on a personal level, the moment we engage over something practical, we need to be understood. And on a human level, we can all benefit. With the warm, non-judgemental acceptance of true listening, we are seen (or have the potential to be seen) in the clear light of reality - not just as who we are, but, perhaps more importantly, for who we want to be. We're given the freedom to be ourselves.
Note: If there's nobody you want to give it to - you can listen to yourself! When did you last have time to enjoy just being? It may be just the treat you need ...
How much does it cost?
Here's the catch. It costs everything we have! When we listen fully, we listen with the whole of ourselves. We put down our own agendas and concerns, and immerse ourselves completely in the other person's world. True listening, even for the briefest moment, is total. The other person feels our full attention. We give our human presence, just as we are.
Can anyone give it?
Listening may be a special gift, but we do not need to be a special person to listen. All that's required is our curiosity. We do not need to be wise, or clever, or funny, or sorted, or calm, or good-looking or even have a good memory. We spend time with the other person, just as we are. And because we are present with them just as they are, we validate their world of experience. We do so without trying too hard; without doing anything 'special'. Now, they can stand on their ground more firmly; they inhabit their world more freely.
Which size should I go for?
Our listening space is as large or small as we want to make it. What matters is the quality of that space. But if you are short of space and time this Christmas, remember: a little empathy goes a long way! We need only pause for a moment to resonate with someone's words. Instead of dashing onto the next thing, we take time out; it's a moment of sheer holiday spent in someone else's landscape. We enter the dimension Being, not Doing. Here, even a small interaction feels large. For the person we listen to, it's as if we have all the time in the world to take them in.
It's ecologically sound!
If you're catering for vegetarians or eco-warriors, it's the perfect gift:
It creates spontaneous warmth
- It raises energy levels naturally
- It's never wasted, and fully recyclable (we can listen as often as we like to the same thing!)
No wrapping required!
Listening is best seen for what it is. The fewer layers the better. Our warm interest in another person doesn't need pretty words to be appreciated. Without frills and glitter, our listening can be direct and authentic.
If your listening gift is not what's wanted - you can exchange it any time, for words. Your words may be what your loved ones want, after all ...
True Christmas spirit!
Listening never leaves anyone out - even ourselves. Although listening seems to be about another person, at best, it'sjust as much about us. When we pause to create a listening space for someone else, we get a break from our busy Doing mode - and a chance to enjoy a stress-free moment of pure Being. We listen for our own sake, as much as another's:
True listening enriches the listener
as much as the speaker
And the benefits go beyond this. When we drop all expectations and wishes for what another person 'should' be, or 'could' be, but see them just as they are, something magical happens. We discover, and rediscover, the timeless truth, that:
If you listen to someone fully, you can't help loving them
Postscript: what's the aftercare?
Warning: You may need to listen again! (Because the person enjoyed it so much the first time! And I hope because you loved it too ....)
Thank you for reading my bulletins and tips this year
And for sending me your comments and suggestions.
I look forward to seeing you all next year
And in the meantime,
I wish you all a very happy Christmas!
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