Do you consider yourself a good listener? Most people would rate themselves above average as a listener, but few people are really good listeners. I read a quote today that jumped out of the page at me and made me start thinking about how I listen and see the world around me.
Here it is; “That’s why I am talking to you. You are one of the rare people who can separate your observation from your preconception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect.” That was from John Steinbeck in East of Eden.
It made me ask the question; Am I one of those rare people that sees what is? This can be a very difficult thing to do because we all view other people in a different way based on our own experiences and beliefs. It is so easy to make judgements about a person before we even get to know them. If we see a poor person we tend to think and act a certain way with them. If we see a person that looks wealthy again, we tend to act and think a certain way.
Do people want to talk to you? Do you find that people come to you often for advice and counsel? Do you wonder why this is happening? If so you are one of the rare people that God has given the gift of discernment. You are able to see the real issue or problem before others. You are able to quickly realize if someone or something is good or evil. You are able to see through the fronts that most people put on. You can even tell if people are lying or telling the truth.
Most people go through life with a mask on, not letting people too close to their world. The rare person can see through that because they really see and really listen. It’s the rare person that patiently listens to a problem or situation, asks a few clarifying questions to draw out the real issues and helps a person feel better. It’s an even rarer person that can see the problem without even having to hear a word.
I know some of these rare people and I am amazed at their ability to discern and see what is. I have to keep working on it because I still sometimes see what I expect. Slow down and really listen to people. Observe them and become curious about what is going on with them. This is especially true in our close relationships with family and spouses. Listening and trying to understand and empathize is a great gift to the people around you. All of us can listen and see better. Take off your blinders and begin to see other people the way God sees them. Listen with compassion instead of judgment. That will raise your compassion level and cause you to see what is, not what is expected.