Chelle O’Connell, a friend and Go-Giver reader, wrote to us over at the Go-Giver blog with this observation:
“After 25 years of marriage, I realized that there is more than one meaning for the word listen.
“My ex-husband frequently said, ‘You aren’t listening to me.’ I would ask for his advice or input, and if I didn’t do as he recommended, he would say I hadn’t listened. What he really meant was that I hadn’t obeyed him.
“In your book [she’s talking about Chapter 9 of The Go-Giver], Susan was using the word listen in its true sense.”
Beautiful insight — and it’s quite true: people often have very different interpretations of what “listen” means, just as they often give very different meanings to the words “agree,” “disagree,” “talk,” “respect,” and many others.
In fact, listening may be one of the most underdeveloped muscles in modern culture.
Yesterday I interviewed Duane Elgin, author of The Living Universe and Voluntary Simplicity, and in the course of our talk Duane cited a source (I cannot remember the source, though it’s in my notes somewhere; if you want to know it, feel free to email me, and once I dig it up I’ll send it to you) who said that awareness and love were two words for the same thing.
If that’s so, then listening must be the beginning of loving.
What a great way to approach the world — and how sad not to.