I would dearly love to do-over a recent conversation. A friend needed to share some tough news and her feelings; but I could not still my brain, which jumped to action, searching for something that might help and I'm afraid my words followed not long after it. My lack of inner peacefulness filled the air with unease; a faint heaviness like cheap perfume.
There are many bad habits in listening and I'm thankful that I was only aware of one biggie at work in that conversation--feeling compelled to help by searching for a solution. Awareness is the starting point for correction.
Fortunately there are lots of tips available on being a better listener. Huff Post Healthy Living, for instance has a good article on the topic: 9 Things Good Listeners Do Differently
Of the 9 things discussed in the article, the one I want to work on is posing significant questions to draw out more information. I want to replace thinking about solutions with asking questions to help me understand the situation better. I'm not good at this now, but I have hope.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to another is to simply listen; be a sounding board; or, as someone else put it recently: Help someone discover their own heart, or find God's purpose. I'd love to be "that" person.