Sierra's View: Listen.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I have started to notice something: How little people truly listen to one another. The other day I was watching a couple of friends having a conversation. It was a simple, friendly conversation--nothing too negative or horrific. But I started recognizing that they were all focusing on getting their own point across rather than having a real conversation. You know, when one person speaks, the other one listens and gives feedback, then the other responds with personal experiences. It amazes me that basic communication skills seem to be lacking in our society. Since Kenya, my awareness of listening has been heightened. It is become increasingly more important to me that a person possesses this trait of being a good listener. I have become almost excited when I find that there are other people out there who do include themselves into the "listener" category!
Now, I realize I am at fault here. Do not get me wrong, I am by no means a perfect listener. I was raised in a family where it is more important to be heard out loud, to make your point, than to listen. I love my family, but this act of listening is not a strong suit for us. It's okay, I am working on them :). And although this has been both an asset and a detriment in my life, it is what it is. It has enhanced my ability to provide feedback to others when they need it. It has given me the opportunity to speak my mind when others are too afraid to speak up. However, it has also deterred certain relationships because I get a little too into a conversation and overcompensate by speaking too often. And sometimes, others may back down when this happens. Instead of fighting back, they will go back into their shell and not say anything.
There are always exceptions. And this topic definitely has some. There are certainly times when we, as humans, need to just talk. We need someone to sit there and listen to us whine, complain, vent, or utter irrational, confusing, things in between our sobs. And that is okay. Conversely, there are times when we just don't WANT to talk. We'd rather sit back and listen and not say anything. However, as a general rule, I think we all could do a little better at listening (myself included).
I personally believe that there are three things humans want: to be heard, understood, and loved. One of the most difficult circumstances is when people are hearing what you are saying, but are not reciprocating the need for security or feedback in the conversation. It's sometimes hurtful when they are hearing the words that are coming out of your mouth, but they are not particularly listening to the meaning behind it. All we want (particularly women) is to look at someone while saying "no" but have the other loved one know you really mean, "yes." When that other person knows in the middle of a conversation what you are really trying to say. THAT is what relationships are about. When you reach that point when you know the other person is not only hearing what you are saying, but it is completely understanding, which includes honest listening.
The Savior is an incredible example of a good, well... let me correct myself, perfect listener. Haha. He is always listening to what you have to say. 100% of the time. He is not texting when you talking to Him. He is not pretending to listen while thinking about that person who didn't call him. He is there. He truly cares about what you have to say. He wants to know your thoughts, your trials, your struggles, your opinions, your questions, on everything. And he ALWAYS responds. However, it may not be in the way that we are particularly wanting. But he is responding. And he is responding in a way that is exactly what we need in that moment. Because let's face it, sometimes we are less aware of ourselves--sometimes He knows us better. But just like our every day conversations here on earth, we need to be ready to hear what the other person has to say. If you are going to talk with someone and you want an honest conversation, be ready to hit that curve ball they throw.
So I propose this: let's all work a little more on talking WITH each other rather than TO each other.

Oh, and for psychological purposes (people are more willing to read something if it has a picture than just writing itself) I give you another beautiful picture from Africa. This is of the little girls doing a tribal dance. They wear these congas as skirts.

What do YOU think?

All love,


  1. With some of my friends who are younger than me, I tend to feel motherly toward them and want to take care of them. When I got in my car after dinner last night my thought was, "I want her to take care of me." I feel some people just tell me what I want to hear, or some people just listen to half of what I'm saying like I am talking AT them not WITH them. You, my friend, have the gift of listening and part of it comes from you being so genuine. I'm blessed to have you in my life.

  2. I had a roommate who would basically word vomit at me for hours at a time. I would try to get a word in edgewise and she would let me speak, then jump right where she had been before. None of the cues I gave her that I wanted the conversation to be over, worked. She just required a body to talk at.
    Listening is important.
    I'm not a very outgoing person, I am not good at commanding people's attention. Finding people who will listen to me is priceless.

  3. Listening is a skill. It takes work and practice. And there are different kinds of listening, its really important to try to be an ACTIVE listener, but it is SO much easier said than done. I think that sometimes I can be a really good listener and others...not so much. lol.


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