February Letter from the PublisherFeb 01, 2022 07:20PM ● By Shanna Warner
Listen With Your Heart
Comedian Rita Rudner got to the heart of the matter when she was asked about her relationship: “I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
Relationships don’t always have the shine and sparkle of romance. Building a life together is more than fancy dinners out or a box of chocolates once a year. (Come on, twice a year, at least!) Eventually, most long-term relationships settle down into patterns of daily duties, grocery lists, questions about dinner and the constant search for missing socks. And then, there are the annoyances Rita spoke of, things that maybe once, in the beginning, you thought were quirky or charming. When you get to that point, when “charming” becomes “annoying”, you’re at the stage when love can really take hold and grow into something great.
So, how do you let love grow? My #1 strategy is all about listening. To really understand someone, you must truly take time to listen to them. Most people don’t pay attention when someone is speaking, because they are formulating an answer or retort. They can’t wait for the other person to stop talking so they can make their point.
I have (shockingly) found that my spouse, my best friends and my adult children don’t always need to hear my opinion. They don’t always need my advice. Sometimes, all they really need is my shoulder to lean on, my hand to hold, maybe a hug to let them know it’s okay. They need me to just listen.
When Mark and I have a thorny issue to discuss, whether it’s personal or business, we begin by asking the other to “listen with your heart.” We both know that is our moment to set aside all other concerns, to focus in, to stop judgments and to give the other person our full attention. It takes concentration and dedication to focus entirely on the other person. This is the best strategy for letting love grow in all your relationships.
You can use this style of listening in all your relationships, but it won’t fix every problem. It does give you more understanding of the other, because you often will hear what they are unable or even afraid to say. Even if the problem isn’t solved, the other person will walk away knowing deep in their heart that you heard them with yours! So today, practice listening with your heart—become fully attentive to the person in front of you.
The great comedian Epectitus (okay, he wasn’t a comedian, he was a Greek philosopher) said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” When you truly listen, love will truly grow.
With love and veggies (and chocolate),