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Listening is a skill that we are not taught to do-we learn it. Listening is free, but we treat it as if it costs us everything. When we listen, we are doing something very powerful. Here are some things we do with listening. 

1. We validate others. 

Whether they are joyful or in pain, we balk when we hear the stories and experiences of others, and we absently respond. We have good intentions, but the impact is greater than intention. We dismiss experiences when we respond without fully absorbing the information.  When we listen, we validate. No one walks away feeling ignored. We feel heard.

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2. We move beyond the surface.

Staying on the surface with others keeps us safe. We are comfortable at the shallow end of the conversation. Listening takes us into the deep end of the conversations and into the depth of meaning of these conversations. 

3. We can be personal with ourselves 

Listening does not always focus on what others are saying. It involves ourselves, too. Listening to our bodies, feelings, and thoughts help us to tune into our needs and desires. Through listening, we seek to understand who we are and what our mind and body need. 

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4. We can be revolutionary…through listening

In a culture that thrives off of invalidation and disconnection, listening moves us into authentic connections with others. It encourages us to move past our perspective and into the perspectives of others, especially those we do not agree with. 

 

Listening is a pretty cool thing to do. By taking the time to listen, we can be authentic, radical, and affirming at the same time. Listening demonstrates how we empower ourselves and others.

Caitlin Mercier

Louisiana Tech '22

I am fourth year in the doctoral Counseling Psychology program at Louisiana Tech University. I love reading, writing, and cooking. Fun fact: I am a vegan!
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