This is the end of Week 4 of Niki’s Kindness Challenge. Niki’s challenge and other lovely, well written posts can be found at The Richness of a Simple Life.
Although Niki listed many suggestions for challenging yourself in Week Four, I decided that I would concentrate on the kindness of completely listening. I thought that this would help me to continue to be aware of when I was making unkind, snap judgements which I discussed in Week 3.
In today’s world filled with so many distractions I think it is not easy to be a good listener. And then when you add in the extra responsibility of listening with kindness it does indeed become a CHALLENGE.
So how did I define listening with kindness? “To listen to something demands that your mind be quiet—not mystical quietness, but just quietness. It is only when you listen without ideas and without thoughts, that you are directly in contact, and in being in contact you will understand whether what the other person is saying is true or false.” — Krisnamurti
Why is it so hard to truly listen? Since it’s so difficult for all of us to keep our minds focused and present, it’s no wonder that I found it hard to pay sustained attention to what another person is saying—to be attentive not only to the words but also to the affect and meaning behind those words.
I found that it was difficult not to want to jump in and fix things. I noticed that I fell into habitual patterns, such interrupting, trying to fix, giving advice, and rehearsing in my mind what I wanted to say.
This has been another very good week of self revelation. I went into this challenge with one set of expectations and I think that I am going to end this challenge with a completely different set of realizations.
Wishing you a week filled with kindness,