“The first action of love is to listen.” - Paul Tillich

 

Let's face it… it’s loud out there. It seems like everyone has something to say and somewhere to say it. Our social media feeds are littered with articles, posts, and images from all types of people. For some of us, this is difficult to handle, so we edit out the ones we disagree with until our feed looks like an echo board of our own thoughts.

If we’re not careful, we’ll treat people this way: Editing out the ones we disagree with until we’re surrounded by people who are just like us.

Then we wonder why we’re so divided.

But listening is a game-changer.

When someone has a point of view we find difficult to understand, disagreeable, or even offensive, listening sheds light on the experiences that formed their point of view. Listen to a person’s story and you’ll open up the real possibility of an understanding that transcends disagreement.

And it’s not just helpful in challenging circumstances. Listening well underpins all healthy relationships—in marriage, parenting, friendship, the workplace, the grocery store—the list could go on forever. Every single human relationship flourishes when listening well is a primary practice.

Resources:

Bring Free Listening to your community

Host or Join In-Person or Virtual Conversations Among People of Diverse Perspectives

Learn Best Practices for Conversations

Learn How to Listen with Compassion


Need more? We can help.

Listen First Project

Listen First Project teaches skills and creates opportunities for conversations that tip the scales toward a stronger future for our nation and better relationships in our daily lives. Increasingly in America today, we don't just disagree. We dislike, distrust, even despise those who see the world differently. We’re withdrawing from conversations—eroding relationships and understanding. We believe in the power of starting new conversations that move from “us vs. them” to “me and you” to turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division.

Someone To Tell It To

Someone To Tell It To cultivates meaningful relationships through compassionate listening and trains others to do the same. Whether you are looking to become a better listener yourself or as part of an educational, corporate, or religious community, we have training materials to help you. We believe that individuals and communities become better listeners by focusing on the importance of empathy, listening with intention, and being fully present.

Urban Confessional

Urban Confessional is a Free Listening Movement. Volunteers stand on street corners holding "Free Listening" signs and provide compassionate, non-judgmental listening for anyone who needs to talk.