I sat the other day with about fifteen like minded people.
We were invited to share something we wanted more of in our lives.
We were sitting in a circle.
I have on several occasions been invited to share my story or something significant about me in a group environment. The most successful of these has always been in a circle, facing each other. It is no accident that village elders often sit in a circle; indeed many cultures do this. Sitting in circles, around a fire, in a yurt, on the desert floor. Children often do it in our primary schools at reading time.
Seeing the faces of the speaker and your fellow listeners builds a bond, draws you to the story, generates a trusting, safe environment. Nobody is in a position of power, authority, dominance. Or in a position of inferiority, subjugation, minority. Everyone is equal.
Strange then that in our places of work, many meeting tables are square or oblong and we are so often organised in rows. Face to face, back to back, side to side.
No wonder we find it hard to be heard.
In today’s busy world, who is there to listen?
It seems all around the world ordinary people don’t feel heard by their politicians. The people they elect to listen and respond to concerns, to basic social needs, seem not to be listening. For large groups, the church might historically have offered an ear, but many no longer look that way.
There seems to be a void.
In extreme cases it seems terrorism and extremism offer a solution but what about the masses? The everyday struggling human being seeking something more mainstream? Who will listen to them?
I wonder what new roles might emerge to fill the gap?
Is there a role for business? A role for health professionals? A role for charity? A role for new forms of social collective? A role for individuals?
Someone needs to listen. Society needs to listen.
We all need to be heard.
Being listened to, has amazing properties.
When we need to be heard, and someone makes time, it feels like a gift. The gift of attention. It makes us feel special. Helps us make sense of our own thinking. Connects us to our own feelings. It’s cathartic. Warming. Connecting. It sets us on an even keel again. Able to move forward once more.
Being listened to, however, requires a listener.
Often a good one. One who listens. One who hears. Little, if any, interruption.
All too often though as the potential listener, we don’t pay attention to this gift giving capability. We are too busy. In our own world. We move on, neglecting. Not because we don’t care, but often because we just don’t value sufficiently the benefit of listening to another person. We are captured by our own selfish need. Our priorities. Our world, in that moment, is worth more than the world of the listened to. So we interject, we opinion give, or we don’t even see that the listened to seeks to be listened to.
We should stand regularly in the listened to space and remember its gifts.
From there, step across. Stand more frequently in the listener space. Give gifts back. Gifts to others. To those who need to be listened to.
I posted on here a while back that we all want to be seen and heard.
Truly seen and heard.
So, if someone was there for you, what would you say?
If you could be heard, what would you say?
What is your truth?
What is your story?
What hasn’t been said?
What needs to be heard?
How did your story come to be?
Where does your story begin?
Where are you now in your story?
How does your story end?
What does your story say about you?
People are listening, you just need to speak your story.