“When I’m listening to you, it’s infinitely more important for me to listen to me than to listen to you. Of course, it’s important to listen to you, but it’s more important that I listen to me. Otherwise I won’t be hearing you. Or I’ll be distorting everything you say. I’ll be coming at you from my own conditioning. I’ll be reacting to you in all kinds of ways from my insecurities, from my need to manipulate you, from my desire to succeed, from irritations and feelings that I might not be aware of. So it’s frightfully important that I listen to me when I’m listening to you.” Anthony De Mello
“Then [Joseph] had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?’ His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.” Genesis 37:9-11
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- It’s our “conditioning … insecurities … need to manipulate … desire to succeed … [and] irritations and feelings” that make it so difficult for us to truly listen – to listen lovingly. Imagine how hard it must have been for Joseph’s family to hear about his dream.
- Are you aware of the “triggers” that spoil your listening? How defended you are? controlling? impatient? unteachable? What would you add to this list?
- This is an area where training will serve us better than merely trying. How can you train to “listen to you” while you “listen to me?” Can you practice watching your conversations from outside? Can you bring an “inner stability” (Nouwen) to conversations, so that it’s not “all about you?”
Abba, teach me to lovingly listen to others by teaching me first to know and hear myself.
For More: Awareness by Anthony De Mello
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)