Listening with your heart begins with a sincere interest in caring for the other person. When we listen with care we come alongside another person heart-to-heart. We enter into their world — not our own — and we become an agent of God’s Spirit in offering comfort, acceptance, support, and more.
To take care of how you listen, start with this listening audit. Read through these questions and answer them honestly. Ask God to give you a heart that truly cares for others and listens to them with your heart.
- How good am I at taking the time to truly listen?
- How good am I at asking open-ended questions to draw out what others are really trying to say?
- How good am I at being able to summarize what I think I’ve heard from them to check I’ve gotten it right?
- How good am I at using body language to communicate interest and attentiveness in a conversation?
- How good am I at resisting the temptation to jump in and assume I know what the other person is talking about?
Try this timely listening exercise to help the people around you debrief the Covid lockdown and their experience. Ask and answer these questions with your spouse/family, closest friends, small group, etc. then take some time to offer a word of encouragement and/or a prayer of support. Be sure to practice “listening with care.”
· When were you first aware that the pandemic “got real” and was serious?
· What did you miss the most during the pandemic?· What’s one thing that you think helped you get through the pandemic?
· What was a part of your new routine that you’d like to keep?
· What were a few things you really enjoyed doing when you were at home so much this year?
· What would you describe as your low point during the last year?
· What were some of the things you were scared of in the last year?
· What was an unexpected benefit that came out of the pandemic?
· How did your faith help you during the pandemic?
· Is there anyone special you want to thank after this year?
· Who is someone you know that had an even harder time than you because of the pandemic? Why?
· What lesson did you learn during the last year that you don’t want to forget? Why?