One of the key ways that I know that someone isn’t listening to me or that what I am saying isn’t important to them is when they call me “Gwen.” It is a tell-tale sign that they aren’t really getting what I am putting down. Most people know that a pet peeve of mine is unauthorized nicknames, Gwen being top at the list. My name is Gwyneth. Now I fully understand that my name can be hard to hear. Sometimes the “TH” is hard to hear. I am also aware that people learn by comparing things to something familiar, interpreting information to fit an already comfortable set of data. So Gwen comes out. It becomes more complicated after correction and the Gwen still sticks around. I have to ask myself… are they listening? Do they hear me?
When someone isn’t listening, I tend to share much less. So much of what I want to express gets shut down. Now I am guessing I am not the only one who feels this way. There are some who will go on anyway and those who aren’t listening will suffer other ways. I was supposed to do that?
I have to practice listening. Listening to people. Listening to God. Listening to Matt. It is as difficult as reading directions for me. But it is vital to my role as a wife, communicator, pastor, leader, friend and mentor. If you are walking around doing any of these and you are not listening… I guarantee you will hit a roadblock or pitfall and the casualties may be tragic. As I practice, I realize that we are all on a journey. Most of us are selfish and so listening is difficult. So we may have a few apologies to go around because we didn’t listen while someone told us their life story. Fortunately there are a lot of articles, books and blogs about leadership & listening. So listen away!