“To say that a person feels listened to means a lot more than just their ideas get heard. It’s a sign of respect. It makes people feel valued.” – Deborah Tannen
Social media has brought people together like no other technological advancement in history. The paradox of this increased connectivity is that many of us feel less deeply connected to other human beings. We share information, but we rarely have meaningful conversations about our complex feelings online.
As humans, we need to share our ideas, our problems, our relationships, to help sort out the good and bad about our journey through life. Philosophers, psychiatrists, spiritual teachers, writers, artists — anyone who has ever had a best friend or an understanding grandparent — all know the value of having someone to talk to openly and freely, in complete confidence.
“One person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world.” — E. H. Mayo
Such a confidant has our complete, unconditional trust. He or she listens to us when we need to be heard, to help us find the answers and knowledge locked away within us. Speaking to a confidant can be personally transformative, as we let our thoughts and feelings out into the world with another caring human being who will keep them — and us — safe and secure.
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” — Karl Menninger