It takes courage to listen without judgement.
Every single one of us wants to be heard. We want to speak our truth, to live with authenticity, and to do so without judgement.
So often, however, when we are listening to someone share their heart, we do it with judgement. Not every judgement is negative, but sometimes we spend our time not really listening, instead making silent judgements, assuming we know something about the person we are listening to that may not be accurate. We make connections and we plan our next comment. It’s totally normal. Humans have meaning-making minds.
Judgements may be direct, like asking “what did you do that for?” or less direct, but just as judgemental, like “I don’t know why you would worry about that. There are people going through way worse things.” Judgements may also be internal, where we tell ourself, “this person hurt me before and I don’t really want to believe anything they tell me” or even “this person is highly regarded. I can’t believe they are struggling.”
But imagine if we listened just to listen. Not to plan the next statement or the next follow-up question. Imagine what we could learn, really learn about another. It takes courage to be that open to another’s story.
When I listen to my wife, for example, I may be hearing what she says, but if I am assuming she is angry with me or if I tell myself that what she really means is…then I am not listening without judgement.
I can learn so much more about the person I am listening to if I have to courage to really listen, not to pretend I am listening while silently making judgements and assumptions.
So, when someone asks if they can talk to you, can you find the courage to set aside your thoughts of, “Oh no, what did I do now?” And instead tell your mind to just stop and listen? It takes more courage to not know what you will hear, but I promise you will be letting the other person know you see them, you hear them and you value them. Isn’t that what all of us want?
What steps of courage can you take today to listen without judgement? I am going to start with my family, to listen to my kids more, to listen to my wife more. I want my family, more than anyone else, to know I see them and I hear them and that I truly want to know them, without the stories of judgement I may make in my head.
I hope you have a wonderful Sunday, filled with peace. I am thankful for each of you who read this blog. It is hard to believe we are more than half-way through the 45 day journey.