Listening as an Act of Love

Have you read the book, Listening Is an Act of Love? It’s a compilation of stories collected by StoryCorps founder

white background, black lettering, color photos of peopleDave Isay from the lives of regular folks like you and me. Isay understands everybody in this world has a story to tell, they just need someone who is important to them who will listen. We celebrate life when we stop and listen to how it looks through another’s eyes.

I purchased the book a few years ago, and the Friday StoryCorps segment on NPR is a favorite of mine, both for the stories that are told and for the reactions and responses of the people to whom they are told.

What strikes me about the listeners in the recording booth with the speaker is that their responses are absolutely ordinary. No great words of wisdom, no carefully crafted responses, just words spoken from the heart acknowledging the significance of the story.

Inevitably, the speaker is thankful or appreciative to the listener for her gentle act of love.

Listening is so simple, and so important.

When you remember that listening is the express lane to a person’s heart, it’s easier to just relax and pay attention to what he is saying, without worrying about having the right answer. Sometimes all that you have to say is, “tell me more,” or, “that’s an interesting thought,” or even, “I know you’ll work it out.”

Moments shared in listening, rather than in speaking, are the moments where you get to know someone. It’s your chance to show you care. It’s your chance to tell that person, with your actions instead of your voice, that he’s important. That his life, and his feelings, matter.

That’s a powerful and important gift, and one that leaves an imprint on his heart, and on yours.

Life Is Honest, Open and True:  You can practice listening as an act of love anytime, anywhere, as long as you’re willing to be quiet and pay attention. Just for today, when you’re tempted to speak when someone is sharing a piece of himself, remember that if you want to show love, stay quiet and just listen. One more thing, if you’re not familiar with David Isay’s work, check out the StoryCorps website.


Would you share this post? Tweet: Listening as an act of love only requires you be quiet and pay attention. A blog post by D’Anne Hotchkiss

Thanks to my reader who suggested this story idea to me. If you have an idea you’d like me to address, tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!


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5 Responses to Listening as an Act of Love

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  5. nannieofthenorth

    I’ll remember these techniques for the next time I’m with the family member who is dealing with grief at the loss of his parents as well as his own severe depression. He may need a listener who is more trained to help him sort out things, but I think he is going to rely on family. He can’t help but dump EVERYTHING in the lap of the listener several times. I need to help him sort this out more.Okay, I’m on it!;)

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