Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A few thoughts on being a good listener

The greatest gift you can give another
is the purity of your attention.

Every day is a new day blessed with opportunities. As a social medium, Facebook affords us with an ideal an opportunity to exchange our thoughts and feelings with our family, neighbors and friends, both near to us as well as many distant time zones away. 

Part of the art of meaningful conversation, I believe, is in being a good listener -- even when we are socializing via Facebook. One friend of mine once expressed to me that I am tolerant and open minded, and for those reasons, they felt comfortable sharing a conversation with me. Mind you, we have never had the pleasure of meeting each other in person, yet there was a level of comfort and trust between us.

As I have gained the friendship of many different and wonderful people over the past few years, thanks to Facebook, I am very proud to call as dear friends those who come from many different countries around the world besides the U.S., including: several Asia Pacific nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam; India, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Brazil, and also many eastern and western European countries, such as Serbia, Great Britain and Belgium.

My group of dear friends resembles a microcosm of the United Nations. Among them, they also include many different faiths, too: Catholics and Protestants, Western and Eastern Christians, Muslims, Orthodox, Buddhists and Jews, too. I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful circle of cultural and religious diversity.

I consider myself color-blind when it comes to race and nationality, and I show the same love, respect and courtesy to all of my friends regardless of the color of their skin, their gender or their sexual preference. Because of my tolerance and open-mindedness, I have gained the trust of many of my friends, something that makes me very proud. And, as such, many come to me in confidence to share their thoughts, their hopes, their dreams and to seek my opinion, guidance and feedback. It has been a privilege to be thought of as a mentor and tutor, and I thank each and every one of you for the gift of your time.

Whether we realize it or not, each of us is blessed with the ability to be a good listener. 

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force," it has been said. "The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

Because we validate each other's lives with our attention, I highly encourage each and every one of you to take the time to listen during the conversations you have with your family, your neighbors and your friends. Each of us has the potential to be a difference maker in another person's life. After all, as it's been said: "The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention."

In closing, my dear friends, I would like to leave you with a thought about listening from the 20th century American scholar and author William Arthur Ward, whose books about religion include: Fountains of Faith and Thoughts of a Christian Optimist. 

Ward wrote:

• Before you speak, listen.

• Before you write, think.

• Before you spend, earn.

• Before you invest, investigate.

• Before you criticize, wait.

• Before you pray, forgive.

• Before you quit, try.

• Before you retire, save.

• Before you die, give.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing, Michael! I will read this several times to remind myself to listen. Much appreciated <3