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“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” (Stephen R. Covey)

There’s a style of listening that we’re often not taught. It’s the ‘stay with me’ kind of listening.

Instead of responding with your story or an example from your life or a solution, you stay with the other person.

This might look like an encouraging nod or question. Or even a simple ‘tell me more’.

This type of listening is a mindful practice – both because our minds are always full of what it wants to say, and a reminder to be present with the other person.

The desire, even in brief interactions, to understand another person comes from curiosity and empathy. And a good way to cultivate these feelings (and avoid resentment and obligation-listening) is to be an overflowing cup  – full to the brim and ready to listen.

But so many of us are running on empty, craving to be seen and heard.

Being a generous listener begins with being listened to. Which is why it’s so critical to find those people who really listen to us. In the beginning, that might be paying for someone like a therapist or coach.

And then cultivating and nurturing key relationships where you know you are heard.

It can be challenging to keep the focus on the other person when your head is swirling with your own experiences. But stay with me listening is a gift to the other person and the potential is a deeper connection between the two of you.

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; But when you listen, you may learn something new” (Dalai Lama)

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