Unlocking Empathy: The Art of Listening to Others

I love old cars, and on a recent trip, I was able to stand curbside and watch a drive-by car show. Like a kid in a candy store, I smiled and waved at the drivers with glee in my heart.

Art - Listening

As the parade continued, I met the nicest woman, Peggy, who had lived in the small town since birth. Though her husband passed away, her kids and grandkids are still in the area she loves so much. She was the sweetest woman with a story to tell and was delighted that someone listened, cared, and conversed with her. Her story, as does yours, plays a significant role in other people’s lives. They have the power to inspire and connect others across generations and cultures.

Whether it is a tale of triumph or adversity while caring for someone, your story can evoke emotions and spark meaningful conversations. Quite often, they give comfort to someone who has gone through difficult times themselves and create an opening to let them know they are not alone.

Stories also help us hear perspectives we may not have thought of, and perhaps even resolve a caregiving situation we are experiencing. They can give you the ability to navigate caregiving days in a different light that may provide you with a further understanding of what the one you are caring for is going through and honoring yourself amid that.

How often have you been in a difficult situation and stopped listening because you knew the correct answer? We’ve all done that out of exhaustion or frustration. By listening to different viewpoints and experiences, you broaden your perspective. This can help you see situations from multiple angles, an essential part of making an informed decision and resolving conflicts as they arise.

Listening to a loved one, friend, or colleague is a fundamental element of courtesy. It shows that you value the opinions and feelings of others, regardless of whether you agree with them. And it offers a degree of compassion. In the case of my new friend Peggy, the fact that a stranger was kind and caring, listening to what she had to say, gave her the brightest smile.

Listening to others is a skill that enhances relationships, and I feel it adds to the creation of a more empathetic society. It is a simple yet powerful way to connect with people and promote harmony and understanding in various aspects of life. As with the classic cars we were both admiring, personal stories only improve when shared.

Hugs ~ and don’t forget to B-R-E-A-T-H-E,


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