From Equilibrium: 31 Ways to Stay Balanced on Life’s Uneven Surfaces.

Before we defend our stories, do we listen to the stories of others? Do we listen well to their stories?

I don’t mean a brief chat.

I mean deep dialogue.

Honest conversations. True confessions. Open ended questions and candid answers.

No hurries toward conclusions. No rapid defense mechanisms. No placing them in a bubble. No judging or rejecting or escaping.

Talking a little.

Listening well.

Today’s culture isn’t crafted to pursue listening. We prefer brief texts, short stories, one-word answers.

What do we need and crave, even when we’re afraid of it? Lengthy discussions at mealtime. Long walks with long talks, mingling peaceful and comfortable silence between the nouns and verbs. Eye to eye contact. Questions asked to confirm initial understanding is correct. More questions asked to see what might be, should be, could be done to rejoice or repent or receive or accept or forgive or understand or love.

Having a goal to truly hear and understand instead of insisting on ourselves being heard and understood.

Having a hope to create a climate of, “Yes, I care about you, and I want to hear your story.”

Do we create that climate for those around us?

Do we craft that mood for those around us?