What is empathetic listening?

2018 is the year of me learning how to listen well. This is what I’ve learnt so far about empathetic listening.

Seek to understand, before being understood

Photo by Trung Thanh on Unsplash

Let’s understand what’s not empathetic listening

What’s the need or purpose of empathetic listening?

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving me advice, You have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me ‘why’ I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen; Not talk, nor do — just hear me.

And I can do for myself — I’m not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me, that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

When that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works sometimes for some people; because God is mute, and doesn’t give advice to try to ‘fix’ things. He/She just listens, and lets you work it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me, and if you want to talk, Wait a minute for your turn, and I’ll listen to you.

Anon

Empathetic listening is hard to do

Imagine a butter knife inserted into a stream of water

If you are framing a response when the other is speaking, you are not listening

We Learn, We Grow

We Learn, We Grow is a collection of critical essays and articles by Jaya Ramchandani, a lifelong learner, teacher, entrepreneur, and curator. She writes on #learning #science #philosophy #society #knowledge #natureculture and their intersections. Reach at jaya@thestoryof.org

Jaya Ramchandani

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Curious about #learning and #education? So am I! Come learn, grow, and act with me

We Learn, We Grow

We Learn, We Grow is a collection of critical essays and articles by Jaya Ramchandani, a lifelong learner, teacher, entrepreneur, and curator. She writes on #learning #science #philosophy #society #knowledge #natureculture and their intersections. Reach at jaya@thestoryof.org