Listening to understand

Lately, there is no evading the glut of information swirling around the news and social media. It is funneled into our lives and I can't remember the last time it left me feeling optimistic.

The air is thick with hurt and raw emotion and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that the real storm has yet to make landfall.

There is so much on our minds. So much to be said. So many people that want to be heard. It feels impossible though. The volume is turned up on all sides and it just melds together into some blaring and desperate sound.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Stephen R. Covey

More than ever I feel this quote rings true.

We are listening with the intent to point fingers.

We look for a single attribute in a person - race, gender, religion, political alignment, occupation, anything - to use to sum the rest.

We watch and share video clips to fit a narrative and skim articles to get in a quick dig.

It is so easy to tear things down and to find bad intentions when your mind has already been made up.

More of us (myself included) need do the work to understand what we claim we are listening to. The difficult work. Of acknowledging ideas we know hold weight but aren't comfortable to face. To find common ground where none seems to exist. To stand our ground while not just displaying, but enacting, compassion.

We should be listening, not to reply, but to understand, and crave for our minds to be changed.

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