There are so many amongst us who don't know what it means to listen. To listen is to go beyond yourself. To listen is to truly be humble.
This is something that I picked up in my recent days in the army. I have come across too many who talk freely but refuse to listen. Like there was this one chap. He and I entered my unit at the same time and back then he had many problems to deal with. Whenever he had any issues he came to me and told me about them. All I ever did was listen... and listen. Of course in my mind I had objections and disagreements. But to soothe the soul in pain I agreed with his erroneous views just to make him feel better. Thus all I did was listen. I never judged him nor did I hurt him. All I did was listen.
And then there was my boss. Whenever he had his discussions and all, all I ever did was listen. Occasionally I would clarify and question but all I ever did was listen. And whenever he felt strongly about something, I would agree despite my personal sense of disagreement. I wouldn't oppose. All this just to leave him with his pride and authority. Thus all I did was listen.
And for me, there was nobody to listen to me.
When I shared my problems with the chap, my colleague, all he did was to judge. He shot down every one of my problems as misjudgments from my side. He was brutal with his comments. To him, I was a test paper sodden with problems, awaiting his candid solutions. And all I did was listen.
And then my boss. Whenever I had requests (more like disagreements), none were heard. Words would be heard as sounds waves registered. But my intent was never understood. 'No' was a common answer. "To hell with all this listening", I sometimes thought. In the end, all I did was listen.
Listening is truly an art. It stems from a deep-rooted sense of humility. To listen is to doubt yourself enough to hear another. To listen is to doubt your personal principles enough to adjust them from others' experiences. I'm not saying don't give others advice. I'm just saying we (generally) need to listen when people need us to listen. And when they're ready for advice then we should give them advice.
Thus, the art of listening.
I hope you were listening.