When was the last time you truly felt listened to?

When was the last time you truly listened to someone?

In our social media world, it seems that everybody is very good at speaking (and sometimes shouting), but the skill of ‘listening well’ seems to be gathering dust. Last month’s Presidential debate was a shocking example of what happens when no-one is listening. Talking becomes competitive, whereas listening triggers compassion.

As we begin a second lock-down, with people feeling increasingly fearful, uncertain, and disconnected – let’s make a conscious choice to reach out and listen well.

Here’s an extract from a chapter from the book I’m currently writing on healthy relationship practices – exploring the ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ of good listening.


Our ability to listen well is a relational super-power that can become truly transformational. But let’s face it, many of us struggle to listen well (I know I do!).

A guy called Mark Brady teaches ‘Deep Listening’ courses, and in his courses, he invites participants to circle the last three letters in the word HEART i.e. ART. Then, he invites them to ring the first four letters of the word HEART i.e. HEAR. Finally, they circle the whole word (i.e. HEART’) and he reminds them that ‘the ART of HEAR-ing is the EAR of the HEART’.

We can learn to listen with sincerity – genuinely wanting to hear and connect with someone as an expression of love. David Ausberger, author of ‘Caring enough to be heard’ writes “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

We can learn to listen with curiosity – genuinely wanting to learn. After all, if you’re speaking then you’re learning. The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d rather have been talking.”

Here are four listening practices that we can grow in as we commit to healthy relationships of compassion and comfort. We choose to listen:

  • Intentionally: This is a commitment- a choice – an act of will
  • Attentively: Engaging our whole senses and body – ‘listen with your eyes’
  • Understandingly: With an open heart to learn – listen without agenda
  • Actively: Appropriate response to what’s bee said

These actions take practice – that’s why we call them relational practices. Because we’re committed to learn. And when can we start learning? How about today?

And as we commit to become better listeners, let’s reach out for help from the One who is the Greatest Listener of all. The God who hears the deepest cry of our heart…

“Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (TPT).