In this final part of this series of three posts it’s important that we address the condition of your heart. If you are truly going to be a good listener, the kind of listener that will make your relationships better, you have to be prepared to listen with your heart. For someone to be important enough for you to listen to her, you have to love.
The kind of love that makes for the best listening is the unselfish Christ-like love. It’s the love that says I love you no matter what and I love you with a love that doesn’t expect anything in return. With this kind of love you can listen for the sake of listening because you care what she has to say.
We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19
If you want to be a great listener, the kind of listener that gives value to others, you need to be an active, engaged listener. You have to listen with your eyes and your body language. If you want to communicate you care then you have to be an active listener. You need to make eye contact and about eighty percent of what you communicate is nonverbal.
When you look a person in the eye it says, “You have my undivided attention. You are valued. You are significant. You are worth listening to.” I was walking by a couple in the store the other night just as he was saying, “You’re not listening to me.” She said, “I am. I heard everything you said.” He said, “You weren’t even looking at me when I was talking to you.” It’s a big deal. And I think men fail at giving undivided attention more time than women.
Parents, your kids want your attention more than anyone. When they talk to you stop what you are doing and look them in the eye. If they are little children, get on a knee and get at eye level.
Your body language is important. You can look at a person’s body language and tell whether he thinks what you are saying is important or not.
Listen with love. Listen to the emotion. Feel when a person is happy and be happy with him. If he is sad be sympathetic. If he is fearful or anxious, be encouraging. Care about what you are hearing and give the appropriate emotional response. A person wants to know you know and feel what he is going through.
Make listening an important time of your day. Put time in your schedule. Ask questions and listen to your kids at the dinner table. Have date nights with your spouse and make conversation an important part of the evening. Ask about his day, and then listen.
Since we are naturally selfish. If you want to develop a good listening ear and heart, spend more time hanging out with and listening to God.
…the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts. Heb 3:7-8
When you are close to God, when you are experiencing His love, when you are listening to what God is saying to you and knowing that He is listening, your heart will soften and you will be a better listener. When we experience God’s love we experience the patience of God, you will be able to pass patience on to the one’s we love. Then you will know them better and they will know they are loved.
Question: Are there people in your life that don’t look at you when you are talking?
How does that make you feel?