The past few months, I have thought a lot about connection. We often miss out on a certain level of connection with others, because we rush to our own conclusions about them and/or their situations. We (I) like answers and conclusions.
However, what people really want is to be heard and to feel heard. I think in order to be good listeners, we have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. We have to be willing to sit with questions and resist the temptation to try and answer or conclude one thing or another. We have to be willing to listen to people who are different from us and hear their stories. We must realize that we don’t have to say a lot to say something meaningful, and sometimes, we don’t even have to say anything at all. The goal of good listening is empathy, not advice. Connection with a person happens in that place of empathy.
A lot of divisions have happened in our nation over the past year. Resentment has risen within groups towards other groups. Violence and hatred have reared their ugly heads. It’s as if people are shouting, “Do you hear me?” This year, I want to be better at hearing others. I want to be a person who builds bridges between myself and people who are different than me through empathy. I want to take the time to hear other’s stories without dismissing their perspectives or placing judgment on their experiences. Who is with me?