Listening to the thoughts, ideas, problems and needs of others is probably the best possible thing one can do for those in need. It can be hard to really listen sometimes when we get caught up in our own lives.
There are many different reasons why we find it hard to listen to others. Perhaps you have run into nothing but good luck lately, everything’s going your way. In that scenario, it might be hard to detach yourself from the good luck you are having and focus on someone else. Often, when we get in good moods, we do not want anything to ruin it for us. We might also think that since we’re in a good mood, everyone else should be as well, however, it’s not that simple.
You might also have the exact opposite experience -- nothing may be going right for you. Perhaps you have started taking your frustrations out on others without really meaning to. Sometimes, when we get so caught up in our own problems, it’s hard to remember that others are suffering too.
Regardless of what situation you are going through, it never hurts to stop and listen to others. You may think it’s hard to be a ‘good listener,’ however, anything and everything can be improved upon.
The first way to become a better listener is by actually listening. This means you pay attention to what a person is telling you and take notice of how they feel. Often, we ‘hear’ rather than listen, though that can be easily remedied. Put yourself in their shoes, try to relate to the situation they are explaining to you the best that you can. Try not to let your mind wander during this time, especially if someone is confiding in you.
The next thing to do in order to become a better listener is not making the problems of others all about you. Sometimes, we try to relate to others by telling them about the similar situations we have been in. However, most times, when relating to others, we unintentionally shut them down and suddenly make things all about ourselves. The best way to avoid this is to not relate and then begin monologuing about it immediately afterwards. It is alright to tell a person that you get them, that you have been through similar situations. However, try not to start going into your own problems; the person who was speaking to you might have had more to say, and shutting them out by bombarding them with your own issues is not listening to them.
Another way to let someone know you are listening is to ask them questions or offer any advice you feel is necessary for the situation. Remember things they have told you and talk about those things with them.
When people are talking to us, all they want us to do is listen. It is not as hard as it might seem. Ask questions and show interest. Listening to others is one of the best things we can do for others.