What is it to be a good listener?

It is believed that being a good listener requires the other person to be silent, engaging, verbally and nonverbally and even to repeat what the other person is saying. This can be technically true, but are we really listening when somebody’s asking for help and we give a generic response? 
Is there more that we can say after we hear the other person?
Can our answer be genuine from the heart?
It is hard to deal with uncomfortable conversations. Especially those that we cannot really give the proper advice or answer to. This is in these moments that we tend to gear for the more generic “I hear you” interactions. 

To be present, we all need to make an effort to pay attention to certain signs during conversations, because there is nothing more beautiful than being truly heard. We might not have all the answers that the other person needs or seeks, but demonstrating that we are truly listening, elevates the conversation, and even gives peace of mind to the person talking. Most of the time we have the answer ourselves and all we want to do is to be heard. To listen it’s like putting a mirror into her face.

So these holidays, practice mindful listening. Be present, be empathetic, and ask what is not being heard during conversation. 
Start small, you don’t have to have a full on deep conversation in order to listen. Instead of how are you, ask how are you feeling today? How is (insert person's name) doing today? 
I have done this in the past, and you will be surprised with the answers that you’ll get. Some people have even said that that was the first time someone asked them that question.

Preserving energy is important while listening. So make sure that you take breaks in between and respectfully excuse yourself of conversations that may trigger you. Boundaries are extremely important.

And lastly, a lot of us have that one family member that we avoid during the holidays. I can tell you from personal experience that grudges eat your soul and energy. Therefore, if you are entertaining the idea of forgiving a family member do so. Otherwise, politeness goes a long way along with your boundaries. We are all on our own journey and we cannot carry along those who are unaware or stuck on their journey.

Part of my healing journey has involved mindful listening. First with myself, then with others. Actively Listening is the best gift that you can give someone these holidays.

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