How Listening to Others Can Make You a Better Person

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
Ernest Hemingway

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What if I tell you that listening is much more important than speaking?

Most people often forget that we have one mouth and two ears, which means we should listen twice as much as we speak. That way we will be able to connect with others on a spiritual level, not being driven by our egoistic instincts which make us speak without listening.

The world would be a better place if people listened to each other more. Communication would be real, everyone would say what they want and won’t keep it in their head, conflicts will lessen and people will refind their compassion.

Listening is an art, a path to other people’s heart, an effort requiring patience, sometimes a battle with yourself, and a skill you need to learn in order to evolve as a person and unleash your potential.

How does listening help us and the ones we communicate with?

1. You help those you listen to.

People yearn to be heard. They have so much going on in their life and head, that everyone who is willing to just sit and listen to them is like their savior.

So why don’t you help someone today by listening to what they have to say? Make them feel comfortable and let them speak. You may be surprised what a positive effect on you this may have.

2. You learn.

There are many ways to increase your knowledge – by reading, doing, watching, being taught, failing, etc. – and listening is one of the best and easiest.

Ask questions, engage in conversations, listen to public speakers and lectors, hear what your friends and parents tell you, take advice and learn whenever you can. Just imagine how instructive a story from an experienced person can be.

Some time ago, while I was working at a sea resortΒ  for the summer, I had the chance to meet foreigners from all over the world. There were many Jewish people as well. Of course they were there on a holiday so nobody from the hotel’s staff and local shops tried to get to know them. But I was very interested in their culture and wanted to learn all about it from Israelis themselves. And from one word to another, I became friends with most of them. They are a wonderful nation and I was glad I asked and listened carefully to what they said. It turned out that they were rarely given much attention and were very happy to get it from me, a young girl eager to learn about their country. Some told me about the history of Israel, others talked about wars – an inevitable part of their life. I had an interesting 2-3 hour conversation with two women, goldsmiths, that had been traveling all their life and been almost everywhere. Another girl had just been in the army and had many moving stories to tell me. This is how I learned so much about the people, lifestyle and history of a certain country together with other very interesting facts and stories and made friends by just listening.

3. You develop patience.

Mastering patience helps you control your mind. It is a highly respectable virtue that true leaders have developed. It is that thing without which you simply can’t handle what life brings you.

Everyone has something to say and wants to do it now without listening to the story someone is telling us. But real strength, self-control and will are measured by the forbearance from doing it. By resisting the urge to talk, humbly listening and responding adequately to the other person, we build patience and character.

4. You show compassion.

Compassion is a rare phenomenon nowadays but I believe that everyone can manifest it by realizing that it lies deep inside us. And by being ready to show it to every creature, to show respect and love and try to help however we can, we also help ourselves.

Becoming compassionate and practicing it while listening is a great way to get in touch with your soul, to become a better person.

Only this way are we able to be wise in our actions, feel what others think, and start giving. Don’t be afraid to develop that quality and never doubt that it will take you to a higher level of living, to success in its pure form.

5. You understand.

Somewhere in the process of listening a magical thing happens – you start understanding. Without asking questions, you suddenly find answers concerning yourself, life, love, the other person and many other sacred things.

Listen as much as you can, do it for everyone who has something to tell you.
Then, among their stories try to find the moral, the lessons that you wouldn’t have had the chance to learn otherwise. And when you do, thank that person, send him your love, and help him in return.
Because even if you don’t realize it now, he has left a mark in your life.

So during the next small talk you have, try to stop thinking, eliminate shyness and all the barriers between you, close your mouth and just listen. Listen with all your mind and soul, understand the body language, try to hear what else he wants to say but doesn’t yet have the courage to and let him know that you are trustworthy.

How important is listening to you? How else can it make you a better person?

Image by 55Laney69 @Flickr

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

63 Comments

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  1. Listening is a very important skill. You have put it very well! My first mentor when I came to the states have imprinted that idea in my head. I use to talk, talk and talk some more and was not listening. I started to listen and I have learn a lot more by doing so!

    1. Thank you for commenting!
      You were lucky to have such a mentor. If everyone just tries to listen more, the world would be a better place.

      1. My complete pleasure! I’d re-blog it, but I have a number of others on my site right now. However, I will be visiting your place often and will hope to use it later.

        Jeff

  2. Excellent post with a practical point! Thank you for voicing this!

    As a counselor I’d like to think I’m a good listener. The other day I was meeting with someone to discuss the logistics of developing a new seminar series and all the gentleman seemed to do was discuss himself and how he could assist me in making it a huge global empire when I wanted to begin small and branch out. This was extremely frustrating! By the end of the session he still didn’t grab the concept that I desired to start a ministry rather than a million dollar business. From now on, I’ll place my trust in the Holy Spirit to guide me sensibly.

    Oh and I am so pleased you are following my blog – I’m looking forward to getting to know you better as well. I enjoy reading practical posts! Blessings,

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m really glad you find this post practical.
      Your situation at the meeting is an example of how listening is important not only in daily life and communication, but also in business. Thanks for sharing it and sorry that it didn’t work out the way you wanted.
      Good luck with your projects. I’ll follow your posts for more information.
      Have a great day
      Lidiya

  3. This is so true. I’ve never been the type to talk for the sake of it, you learn so much more by shutting your mouth and listening instead.

    Thanks for posting!
    Dee

  4. This one really hits home with me because as a professional journalist I am always listening to other people. It’s so refreshing when I’m interviewing someone and he/she asks me a question or two about my life. It makes me feel not so much like a “machine.”

    And don’t even get me started on self-centered people who can’t take the time to shut up and listen to someone. It’s like, “uh, am I in this friendship too? Or am I just an extra in your movie?”

    I can go on and on, but instead I’ll just print out your post and hand it out to others when they’re talking too much πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Maryanne. I really enjoyed your comment.
      It’s great to hear this from a professional. I really think something must be done so that self-centered people realize what communication really is.

  5. Thanks for this sophisticated article, Lidiya.

    I’m a technician and blogs like yours remind me yhat there is another world far away of all these new technologies which often are blocking our feelings and ways to express ourselves.
    Listening to other people is a indispensable skill in all parts of our life. But connecting people solely via social media will not improve this skill. The gaining popularity of video chats, hangouts, or whatever these technolgies are called, is a sufficient proof that people miss direct communication with their ears, their eyes, and their mouth.

    I hope you understand what I mean. My native language is German and it’s hard for me to express myself if the topic is not any technical process.

    Have a nice weekend.

    1. Thank you for the comment. I love when someone appreciates and really understands what I’m writing about.
      My native language is Bulgarian, so we are in the same situation here. I can say that you are expressing yourself perfectly.
      I see your point. First, congrats on the business niche you’ve chosen – it’s one of the most prosperous and promising, and if technology is your passion, then you’re doing the right thing.
      Second, congrats on your way of thinking. Many other people forget this side of communication, ignore it or don’t care at all.
      Have a great day

  6. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to gather information far beyond the average person. I made many friends and observed the cultures in 32 countries and 49 states. Listening provided me with unbelievable knowledge to share with my family and friends. I regret I did not take more time to ask and listen to my parents and grandparents share their memories. Now at 82 I work very hard to record my knowledge. Like myself my children and grandchildren are busy finding their places in life with little time to ask or listen and learn. Your article is wonderful and I can’t listen to you but I can read your advice.

    1. Thak you for your kind words!
      Seems like you’ve seen a lot, but stayed true to your virtues. That’s respectable.
      I’m also trying to find my place in life and feel so lucky that I’ve realized how important it is to just stop and listen.
      I think your children and especially grandchildren are happy to have someone like you in their life, who can remind them of the most precious things and the importance of listening and understanding others. Even if they don’t listen to you, don’t stop telling them that and share as much of your experience with them as you can. If not now, one day they will realize that you are their biggest mentor and even if they hadn’t listened to you carefully enough, they learnt a lot.
      Have a great day

    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading my post.
      I agree with you – listening is a wonderful skill and a must in good communication. But in my opinion it can be taught. I am an example of that, because a used to be a bad listener, but worked on that and changed it. Now I listen more carefully and try to really get what the other person is saying. And I will continue learning a lot more. Some people even find it easier if someone just tells them how to listen and what exactly to do, so if this is the right way for them it’s okay.
      have a great day.

  7. I appreciate the like on my profile of a successful blogger: the art of writing. I absolutely concur with your post. Am on the same page with a lot of your thoughts. Keep holding out the light and joy!

    A clip of an old post of mine on the glorious things that make us human….to show I resonate with your thoughts on listening:

    Even if you don’t believe we bear the image of God in a way plants and animals do not, you have to listen to what our communicative capacity says about personhood. We certainly can talk to ourself, but communication is at its most meaningful when it happens in a social context, with someone who gives us audience. The fact that we can speak is its own witness that we are born into a world where we can expect others to tune into us.

    1. Thank you for the kind words!
      The extract from your post is wonderful. It shows what a deep understanding of the nature of human comunication you have.
      I’m always happy to find someone who shares my thoughts on such an important issue and yet can teach me new things.
      Have a great day!

  8. Great post, I want to say that i consider listening to others as a skill that many people missing it .. In my point of view Listening is an art .. And it really helps a lot of people when you listen to them.
    I found a lot of people don’t need you to solve their problems but they want you to only listen to them. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for liking my post on Computer Science Geeks Blog (http://computersciencegeeks.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/how-to-read-a-book/)

    1. Thank you, Esraa, for your comment!
      I agree with you. Listening is not only an important skill, but also an art that has to be acquired and practiced with love.

  9. Listening, patience and understanding are the major keys from my perspective. Not being perfect myself I took great delight to read your comments and have learnt from them. Additionally, listening to oneself is also an important part of our lives because that means that you will be able to absorb more from others

    1. I definitely agree with you on that, Steve! Thanks for commenting!
      Listening actually goes together with patience and understanding and the beautiful result of that is a communication on a new deeper level between two happy people.

  10. Woohoo! My Grandmother taught me the importance of listening. When I was 14-15 she listened to me nearly every day. My dad was divorcing again, being in high school stunk, and I knew I could talk to her without hurting anyone’s feelings.

    It frustrated my parents because I “missed the bus” every day. Waited for dad to get home from work (no cell phones). Then he had to drive the 9 miles across town, which was a big deal, it was “rush hour”. I was making a tough situation worse, but I needed Ethel Small more than anyone that year.

    I tried to listen for my students when I was a teacher. And I try to listen for my teachers I train now.

    The toughest time to listen…to the kid who is acting out.

    Thanks for posting!

    1. Thank you for the comment. Krystal! I enjoyed it. You somehow managed to include an example of your childhood, school, profession and parenting and to connect them with listening. You seem to know perfeclty well how to deal with kids, students and even teachers. Congrats on that! And obviously you have a great experience in listening. It sure isn’t easy and needs a lot of practice, but with the right attitude, effort and desire, we can all do it well.
      Have a great day!

  11. Good points. I work with the elderly and they just want someone to listen most of the time.

  12. This post was really well written. I thought the points were succinct and well explained. If this was a speech you would have wrapped up with a conclusion listing the main points. Well done. Interesting and you could have even broken it up by making multiple posts and illustrating the point by a story about someone you listened to. Storytelling engages people more than learning points. Also if this was a verbal speech you might simplify the vocabulary a little bit so you never lose your audience, I rarely hear mercantile in daily speech. I enjoyed this very much.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and the advice.
      All the things that sound unusual and irrelevant are because English is my second language and I sometimes get lost in translation.
      I’m really grad you like the post. Thanks again.

  13. Lidiya I wanted to tell you and others that I will be starting a blog documenting my journey of self-improvement for the next year. I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire others to achieve thier goals in life. Thank you again for your hard work and dedication on your blog. Your words have inspired me beyond comprehension and I can not express on here how much I mean that. I look forward to sharing this experience with you and I hope it finds the right people.

    1. Thank you, Jack! I remember you told me some time ago somewhere in the comments, and am really happy to hear that you are still working on it.
      I can’t express how inspiring it is for me to hear that my posts are affecting someone in a positive way. This is the motivation I need to continue writing and improving myself.
      I’m glad you finally started your own blog. Now I will be able to leave you comments too. And I can’t wait to hear what great stories you have to tell us.
      Good luck with everything and stay inspired πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Lidiya, I am glad you stopped by my blog because I get the chance to visit yours and wow… your writings are truly inspirational. I am a fan already. Can’t wait to read more of what you have to say.

  15. I appreciated your thoughts on patience, and character building through listening. I honestly struggle so much with listening. I have so many ideas, and so much to say about anything, and everything. It’s easy to be about myself, 24/7. But a world of “me” only is a very lonely world. You are blessed to understand this now, to be on the journey away from self, learning the joy of sharing in the story of others. Stay on the path.

    1. I undestand you. Having a lof of ideas in your head isn’t always easy and you need to express them.
      In my opinion every self is alone, but you decide whether you’ll be lonely or not, and most of the times this has nothing to do with other people. It’s more about feeling comfortable when you’re by yourself, experiencing the silence and reflecting on things.
      And only then, when you calm your mind, will you be able to listen to others and hear more than just their words, to be sympathetic…

  16. Lidiya, if you have the time and desire, could you elaborate on what you mean when you say every self is alone, and why you think that. This is a curious statement, and a topic of interest. I would appreciate hearing your perspective (and I’m not just saying that because you wrote a blog about listening to others. Ha, ha.)

    1. I’d love to. Well, you said that a world of ‘me’ only is a very lonely world. And I added that everyone is alone at some point or to some extent, but loneliness is a state of mind. Because we need to form that important relationship – with ourselves – and cherish it.
      I think we didn’t really understood each other πŸ˜€

  17. Thanks for sharing, Lidiya. The only thing I have learned with my mouth open is that
    I should have kept it closed. I try my level best to listen first, talk second. Peace.

  18. Lidiya, I am really enjoying your blog & posts. I am so glad we connected! πŸ™‚
    In many instances listening is MORE productive & healthier than speaking or offering unsolicited advice. Many times people process their events or moments (positive or negative) simply through verbalization, not intended to solicit. However, if assistance is asked for, then listening even more (gathering as much background as possible) is wise and caution should be exercised that your assistance does not enable that person to become co-dependent. Bumps & bruises on our knees & elbows are not always a bad thing.

  19. I have found that listening and helping other can be something wonderful and can widened mind to such extent you wouldnt imagine, i have met several people from different countries that i thought i would have ever met, and i have learned about their culture, theirs beliefs and i have seen them thrive getting used to others cultures(mine). seen that really gave me a feeling i can not even express.

  20. It was once said to me that one should really listen when someone is talking instead of merely waiting for their turn to speak (which most people don’t). I see the same thing on the internet; people leaving comments on a post they obviously haven’t ever read all the way. It is a symptom of the human condition, after all; we all love the sound of our own voices (or the look of our own words). One-way communication is toxic indeed!

    1. I agree with you! Once I learned to listen more, everything changed. It made me more patient, sympathetic and understanding. And finally the communication was decent.

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