When we listen to understand others, rather than with the intent to reply, we begin true communication and relationship building. Opportunities to then speak openly and to be understood come much more naturally and easily. Seeking to understand takes consideration; seeking to be understood takes courage. Effectiveness lies in balancing the two.    -Stephen R. Covey

Years ago, I worked with a woman who got on my nerves every time she tried to speak with me. I do not remember why, only that I sometimes would try to avoid her. She was a nice lady. I remember that, but something rubbed me the wrong way.

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Maybe it was because she was always so happy and enthusiastic and I couldn’t understand why. Perhaps I was jealous of her Pollyanna ways. I will not mention her name because I do not want her to know I ever felt that way about her.  Although, she probably does not even remember me. Now, everyone who reads this is going to wonder if they were the one. Unless you knew me 32 plus years ago, you do not have to worry about it.

I am telling you this story because when I lost my son, she was the one person on my job who was here for me. She listened when I needed to share my hurts. Often when I remember how I acted toward her, I am ashamed.

I have worked in the years since then to be a different person. I take the time to listen when someone needs me to hear them. You do not always have to say anything. Sometimes, just having someone willing to hear you out without judgment, criticism, or telling you what you need to do, is enough.

For me, it was just a simple thing as her putting her arm around my shoulders and asking, “How can I help?” It opened the flood gates and changed my actions and attitude. Maybe you, too, can change someone’s negative views and make a difference in their lives.

It is not always about you. Take time to listen and understand, and when you need to be understood, the individual you least expect to be there may be the one to show up.

Until next time, stay safe, and keep the faith.

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