Bridging the Divided

Active And Empathic Listening…..

After much contemplation and meditation, I concluded I was put on this earth as a healer/educator. We all have a purpose, a reason we are here. One of the most important lessons we can learn is the art of active listening.

To understand active listening, we need to understand that hearing and listening are two different things. Generally, we aren’t good at active listening. So, what is active listening? This is the definition as stated in a verywellmind article from May of 2020 entitled How to Practice Active Listening, “Active listening refers to a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way. It is the process of listening attentively while someone else speaks, paraphrasing and reflecting back what is said, and withholding judgment and advice.” That statement is a mouthful: engaged, paraphrasing, reflecting back on what is said, and most importantly, resisting the urge to judge or give advice. How many of us can do that effectively? More often than not we are listening to our inner dialogue and formulating comments and answers in our heads while the other person is talking. 

What is the result of active listening? People feel heard and valued. 

Actively listening to others helps build trust. When others trust us and the relationship, they feel more comfortable sharing from the heart, from the spirit. We get the opportunity to really see and know the other person from the inside out. This, in turn, helps them to listen when we share thoughts from the wealth within our spirits where Divine Love resides. 

Resisting the urge to judge: this is difficult for many inside and outside the walls of the church. I have worked on this skill – I don’t want to be judged as I have been judged. Where did I learn the art of not judging? From people inside and outside the walls of the church who judged me after leaving an abusive marriage of thirty years, from those who told me what I should have done vs. simply listening to me. Being able to listen without judgment begins to manifest when we learn empathic listening.

Empathic listening comes from a place of compassion, from hearing more than just words, from hearing feelings. People need to feel heard and understood. When we cannot identify with their issues, we can still help them to feel understood. This is where setting aside judgment is important – listening without letting our own thoughts and opinions drown out the words and feelings of others. Choosing to be empathetic does not mean we need to be in agreement with what is being said, we simply acknowledge the pain and suffering of others.

Empathic listening involves being comfortable in the silence when there is nothing that can be said or done to fix a problem. We naturally want to fix problems for others, especially when we know they are hurting, but some problems cannot be fixed. 

Healers are naturally gifted with healing from the hands of Divine Love. The gifting often rises from the healer’s own experiences with pain, suffering, and judgment from others. But, the healing gift resides within all of us, too, because each of us is an extension of Divine Love, and therefore, healing is available to all. One of the names for God, for Divine Love, is Jehovah Rapha – the God who heals. Not all realize it, however. Actively and empathically listening allows us the opportunity to develop the healing gift. 

The world is often a sad, cold, lonely, and painful place to be. When we actively and empathically listen, the healing within is released, people are heard, feel valued, and the world becomes less sad, cold, lonely, and painful…..

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