One of my most favorite things is listening to others. I am definitely one of those people who listens more than she speaks; I like to sit back and enjoy the stories of others while offering my little tid bits here and there. I think this is why I get so giddy when someone asks if we can sit down to have a chat or if someone wants my opinion. I feel extremely honored to be the individual they wanted to confide in because there is a great deal of trust that goes into opening up to another person. Last week I had a few instances where I was able to put my listening skills to work and just be there for that person in their time of grief or overwhelming problems. I feel fortunate to offer suggestions, advice, and to ultimately, be a sounding board for their concerns.
Listening is a wonderful act of kindness. It is also a selfless act because it is not about you, but rather, the other person. You are lending your ears for the other person to essentially, talk right off. But unfortunately, I think listening is a skill that not everyone is accustomed to and often times, we are speaking over one another as if it were some kind of competition to see who can talk the most. It is important to remember that while we all have something to contribute to a conversation, listening is just as important. I have found that when someone is coming to you for advice or to just talk, they are usually hoping to have the opportunity to speak without judgement. So, open those ears and listen. It will be the easiest act of kindness yet.