A World Without Racism Listens
Showing Respect by Listening
Listening to someone is the first sign that one has respect for that person. Everyone should show respect to people, and more importantly, on the same level at which we would want to receive it from other people. Listening is respectful because giving a person your attention, and not ignoring them or spacing out during a conversation. This shows that they have your time and attention, and that you are prioritizing them. You should listen in such a way that shows your respect and good character, while communicating the fact that you care and want to know about what the person is saying. Looking bored or interrupting when someone is sharing, communicates that you do not care about what that individual is saying, and usually feels as if you do not care about them in general. Dr. Beth Cabrera believes that in order to create a strong, positive relationship with another person, respect is a crucial part of the foundation. When someone genuinely listens to another’s thoughts and feelings, this validates the other individual’s worth and value. In an article written by blogger Alyssa Dawn, she points out three areas of respect to practice while listening to others:
- Respect for the Other Person
While sometimes unintentional, when we aren’t truly giving someone our undivided attention while they are speaking or sharing, we are not actually listening to them. One way in which we can remind ourselves to be more present is by remembering that through active listening, we are showing another person respect. Additionally, we should never assume what the sharer is going to stay before they say it. This can feel like you are being misunderstood or judged, and many times is inaccurate.
- Respect for Their Reality & Expertise
Everyone lives their life through their own perspective. Sometimes when we experience the same incident as another person we forget that many times our view is different from others. Everyone goes through life uniquely. This sentiment is crucial in showing respect to others and not dismissing their viewpoints and opinions.
- Respect the Circumstances & Context
Have you ever found yourself listening to someone else and feeling like their problem isn’t as big of a deal as they are making it? Although this can be a natural response when we have experienced hardship in our own lives, it is important to remember that everything is relative. Although something may not seem as important to you, we must respect others enough to be considerate and compassionate when it is to them.
Through actively listening to others, we are able to show them respect as well as use respect to maintain a level of consideration. Together we can evolve to be better listeners while growing and strengthening the relationships within our lives.