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Listening with Love ❤❤❤

Dog Wearing Heart-Shaped Glasses

“Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh

I have a friend who’s juggling far more than anyone should deal with at one time.  She’s smart and savvy and to most, she shows no sign of distress.  Do you know someone like that?  The brave amongst us who manage to get through day after day, while carrying silent burdens?

My radar was up because I hadn’t connected with Janet (not her real name) in a couple of weeks.  Janet is self-sufficient and strong, but I sensed something was off because we hadn’t exchanged our periodic and silly text messages about the ridiculousness of life.  Did I mention she’s funny? 

I resolved to reach out with a gentle “Hey – I’m thinking about you – no need to respond – just sending love”.  Easy, right?  No…because I had a flash of fear JUST as I started my message to her.  A moment of panic as I racked my brain, wondering if I had inadvertently offended her in some way.  Oh my.  Perhaps I did – or did not – do something that mattered to her?  I’m busy too, and although thoughtlessness is a high crime in my book…maybe I goofed up?

So, I sent the text and took a breath – moving on.  Thirty seconds later my phone rang and it was Janet:

How did you know I needed you just now?  How did you know?”, she asked.

 She didn’t sound right – too breathless and raspy.

Her rapid-fire update included an intense summary of hospitalizations for both of her parents and a hospice placement for her beloved grandfather.  All in one swoopy, crazy two-week period when her life swiveled and shifted into calamity central. 

My first question was ‘Where are you?’ (I hoped she wasn’t driving).  Her reply?

Hold on. Just a minute, hold on – I need to get to the car”.

As soon as I heard the door slam shut, Janet fell apart. I felt helpless as she filled in the details between sobs, but I knew that the best I could do was LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN.  Allow her to ‘empty her heart’.

After a few minutes, her tone shifted, and she began to sound like Janet again.  Upset but calmer; good enough to drive herself home so she could do the important work of taking care of herself – especially food and sleep. 

I saw her the next day when I delivered soup and bread (listening is good, but my go-to remedies usually involve food, too) and told her I wished she’d filled me in sooner.  And you know what she said?

I knew you would be there when I needed you the most.  Talking about my parents and grandpa has just been too hard – even with you.”

Such a powerful reminder to me.  I want to be the helper, the fixer, but no matter how intense the circumstances, everyone has their own timeline for sharing and seeking support.  For emptying their hearts as Thích Nhất Hạnh wisely suggested:

“Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart.”

My job?  Be ready to receive and listen with love, listen with one purpose.   An excellent reminder to add to my ‘pondering’ list.

Thanks for reading…thanks for listening!

Victoria ❤

About the guest author:



Victoria is from the U.S. and holds a doctorate in adult education and is an experienced leadership and life coach, enjoying opportunities to blog about what matters most ― home, family and wellness.

Her beautiful blog is called, Victoria Ponders.

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Published by Victoria

Hi -- I'm Vicki and I’m a big believer in the power of connection – taking time to share what matters most. I love pondering...thinking about work, family and home life and I enjoy blogging about all of it. Cheers!

32 thoughts on “Listening with Love ❤❤❤

  1. Thank you for this post Victoria! Listening with compassion, without judgement, is a difficult path to walk. But so necessary in this hurting world.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I really needed this post. I do listen attentively to other people, but there’s this trait of mine to always criticize and judge Midway the conversation. I’ll learn to be more understanding and less of a perfectionist 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Beautiful, Vicki! I love the Thich Nhat Hanh quote. And I can tell from your writing and comments that you are a world-class listener helping people empty their hearts to wellness! It reminds me of a favorite Carl Jung quote, “Please remember, it is what you are that heals, not what you know.”

    Beautiful post!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Love your statement ” LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. Allow her to ‘empty her heart’.”
    Very true.
    Love the title of the post.
    How understanding?
    ” One of the most sincere form of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Bryant McGill
    Thank you my friend for this brilliant article.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I really needed this post. I do listen attentively to other people, but there’s this trait of mine to always criticize and judge Midway the conversation. I’ll learn to be more understanding and less of a perfectionist 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your comment. I always think a good first step is noticing our own behavior and then trying to be improve and you’re doing just that. You’re not alone! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

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