on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

A Listening Ear — Day 30

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”  (Robert McCloskey, author of children’s books.)

Do you know what it is like for someone to really listen to what you have to say?  I mean really listen.

A great listener is someone who lets you complete your entire thought without interruption.  He or she takes the time necessary, without hurrying.  There is no story they are reminded of when you begin telling your own, or if there is, they keep it to themselves.

This kind of listener picks up on an inflection in your voice when you mention something a little sad, or she notices the change in your facial expression when you have more energy about a particular idea, or he asks a follow up question about your choice of words when you describe something frightening.  When tears flow, she hands you a tissue and waits.

Author Sue Patton Thoele said, “Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.”

We are starving for good listeners in this world. Someone who does not try to fix what we are feeling or change what we are thinking, but rather asks additional questions to make sure he or she understands what you mean, or your point of view, and not just the words you said.

Politicians, people of faith, Moms and Dads, spouses or partners, or a Boss, could all benefit to listen more intently.

I once had a therapist who was one of the best listeners I have ever met.  I saw her for almost five years on a weekly basis.  I cannot tell you much about what she said to me.  But her questions had healing power in my life.

This world would be a better place if we listened more to one another.

Who listens to you?  How does he or she make a difference in your life by listening?  On the other hand, who did you listen to today?  Who will you listen to tomorrow?

“The first duty of love is to listen,” Paul Tillich wrote.

Let us love one another through listening.


  1. Mary Sullivan

    That great listener in my life would be YOU! I am so grateful!

  2. Susan Gammon

    Thanks to you and Mary for being great listeners for my daughter Stephanie while she has been @ college.

  3. Malcolm

    Susan, it is always a pleasure to listen to your sweet daughter, Stephanie. She is a delight.

  4. Mary Tittle

    I broke my own record today for phone listening. An elderly relative called me at 9:30 this morning & our conversation ended at 1:30 …4 hours. We had not been in touch for many years so we had a lot of catching up to do. It was great therapy for both of us.

  5. Malcolm

    Wow, Mary, now THAT is listening. I’m so glad it was good therapy for both of you. Thanks for the inspiration!

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