The Importance of Listening
I just finished reading a book called Tribes, by Seth Godin. In the book, Godin points out that a key component to creating a successful tribe is that the tribe’s leader must be an excellent listener. Only after each member feels heard and the need for validation is satisfied, can the tribe function as a harmonious and cohesive unit. And then, it will inevitably thrive!
Thrive?! I’m all for that…so how can I apply this wisdom to my community? To my family? To myself? It sounds so simple, but when I look at my life, I don’t see a lot of listening. Why?
In Is Love Enough? Michael Franti sings, “We want freedom of speech, but we’re all talking at the same time; we say we want peace, but nobody wants to change their own mind…” I agree Michael; we all want to be heard, but we don’t want to listen.
So, how do we start? Where do we start? Sometimes, it can be so overwhelming! The angry rhetoric in the Presidential Election. Wars all over the world. My boss. My partner. My kids. It’s not easy.
I think we have to start with ourselves. Do I listen to myself? Or do I judge, shame, silence the internal voice? Maybe if we could all practice listening to ourselves—just a little bit every day—we would learn to be better listeners to others. Maybe then we could listen without judgment. We could listen to sorrow, pain, and anger—even if directed toward us—and provide a safe space for those expressions.
Maybe then a little love could seep in, and harmony, and healing. Toward the end of his song, Michael Franti asks, “Can you love some more?”
I think we can.