Recently I learned about a practice called Compassionate Listening. It is defined as the ability to listen to another’s grief or suffering in an accepting and nonjudgmental way. Some of the places it is used are working with teens, women in trauma centers, and even in the Middle East.
The purpose of Compassionate Listening is to help others “reduce their feelings of grief or sorrow and to transform separation and conflict into an opportunity for connection and healing.”
Could compassionately listening to ourselves ease our emotional distress or reduce our daily anxieties? Could it help us connect to parts ourselves that we have become separated from and to reconnect at a deeper level? Could it make an impact on our ability to listen to others from our heart?
The simplified first step of Compassionate Listening is to not interrupt, judge, or give advice. (If you have comments, you save them for another time). This allows a person to feel safe enough to unburden their heart and speak their truth.
We often judge ourselves so harshly, and what a gift it would be to compassionately listen to the pain, chaos, confusion, and uncertainties in our own minds and situations without interrupting or shaming ourselves or trying to make excuses. This is not the time to look for solutions or to clean out a sock drawer when things get too difficult. This is a time to simply listen.
We may be conflicted about how we should feel and how we honestly feel, about who we are and who the outside world had told us we are or wants us to be.
We often expect perfection of ourselves, or others expect it of us, but we are not meant to be perfect.
By listening compassionately, we are acknowledging our humanity and all the messiness that comes with life. By listening compassionately, we are creating a sacred space to heal, because our voice, as confused and unsure as it may be, has been honored.
For more information about Compassionate Listening and the impact it is having in communities around the world: https://CompassionateListening.org They offer a freeCompassionate Listening Sourcebook.
Barb Greenberg – Founder, Speaker and an award winning author. Rediscovering U was founded by Barb, a divorce transition expert who excels in educating, empowering and inspiring women to move through divorce and into a new life.