“and I feel a niggas pain, but they never can feel mine”: A Look at Empathetic Listening and Compromise

So I started school, lol. And I feel like Sondra Huxtable when she first started grad school. Remember when she started giving unsolicited advice to all her family and friends because her textbook said… Well if we’ve talked in the past couple of weeks, you’ve def been victim to my “Well according to my textbook…”, lol. And now it’s your turn :-) I’m joking, well kinda. It’s the first of October and the start of a new month. We’re well on our way into fall and many of us are settled into our fall groove. But for many it seems like the first of the fall bumps have started to pop up. And one theme that I’ve been preaching recurringly is empathetic listening. I’m big on being objective, but the chapter on empathetic listening changed my life :-)

As important as wanting to be loved is wanting to be understood. And really the two almost seem to go hand in hand. As a person who first talks and thinks second, I realized the affects this can have on my friendships. Of course my friends deal with it and I love them for it. But many friendships down the drain, you have to start to think is it me?! I used to pride myself on being a good listener, but after reading this week’s chapter I may have to rethink that. And some of you too, lol. Many people use selective hearing to judge whether what a person is saying is good or bad, right or wrong, etc. But truly just listening to what a person is saying puts you in a position to compromise. A while ago, I put on Facebook, “You can’t expect compassion without first having empathy.” And it’s the truth, how can you expect someone to try to relate to you, if you won’t do the same?! As anyone comes to me with their battles, I remind them that “even in defeat you still want to enrich your opponent.” Fighting is not the way to settle battles, physically or verbally. Listening empathetically and understanding what someone is saying is what moves us forward. Even if you agree to disagree, the respect of the rules of the game is what makes us all champions.

Moral of the Story: I’m no counselor yet, lol. But I’m on my way to being one :-) And working on my listening skills has been helpful in my relationships with my family and friends. We really all can benefit from empathetic listening and respecting other people’s opinions outside of our own. This October we will definitely be stating our opinions here on Dynamo on everything from hip-hop beef to domestic violence and adultery, dating gripes, voting of course and much more. But the key is to listen or read empathetically with the writers and if for nothing else, you’ll get another perspective on looking at a situation, whether you agree or disagree. I mean cause no one is swaying me on #VoteObama2012, but that’s a post for another day :-) I look forward to really hearing the argument though. xx

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