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How to Listen (Part 1)

Advice Is Easy To Give, Hard to Follow

How often do we take it upon ourselves to go around and dish out advice that no one asked for? Don’t deny it – you know you’re just as guilty of this as I am. Even if you consider yourself to be the Switzerland of any group where conflicts or debates are involved these days, just think about when you’re at home binging on Netflix and you’re telling a character not to open the front door of the ax murderer’s house.

In one way or another, we all genuinely believe that we know more than others when it comes to certain things (or everything, depending on who you are). There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help others by sharing your astute perspective. Most of the time. Sure, it’s super easy to walk up to someone and say, “I see what you’re doing wrong there. Try this.” You’re not caught up in the situation; you have enough distance to gain perspective and be pragmatic about what you observe.

When your heart and soul are seemingly hanging in the balance, though, it’s a different story. The hard part comes when you’re put to task to follow your own advice. The “OMG just stop whining and quit already” doesn’t quite sound so brilliant when you’re talking to yourself in the mirror as opposed to when you recently said the same thing to a friend who confided in you with their dilemma for the umpteenth time.

Sometimes, Silence is The Best Advice

Don’t think that I’m not cognizant of the irony of this post. I’m giving advice on when not to give advice. Still, it’s a worthwhile opinion to share – and not just because it’s mine.

Recently, a friend who’s really going through some heavy things confided in me. Sure, I could have thrown in my wonderful tidbits of advice, but that wasn’t what my friend needed. They simply needed to be heard. Listening to someone and really hearing what is being said beyond the words spoken takes great skill. I’m not bragging about this; I’ve been cultivating this skill for decades, and I still have a long way to go.

The art of listening and hearing (two different skills btw) includes being able to distinguish when to speak and when to STFU.

This is one skill that I find to be incredibly helpful in both my personal and professional life. You can hear so much more in the silent spaces. If you’re also a musician, you know exactly what I mean.

Try being quiet once in a while – even in your own head. It’s amazing how quickly clarity will find its way to you.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

how-to-listen-part-1

Atina Atwood View All

Author, dreamer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, Believer, romantic, instructor, researcher, performer, friend, reader, underutilized philanthrope (my own fault - I'm working on it), discoverer, educator, Foodie, holistic, sentimental, human.

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