What do you think of when you see the word listening? Yes it could be hearing something, maybe music, news, kids playing outside, or even someone typing on the computer. I think about listening rather as being able to focus on details to something and understanding them. When someone talks to me it is important for them to know that I am hearing the content of what they are telling me and I also am able to provide a comment about it.

Ever since we were children, we learned how to listen to our peers. For example, if my mom told me to take out the trash before she got home, I better listen to what she said or I was going to get into trouble. Later on in life we learned how to develop friendships. By doing so, we were listening to others about their interests, ideas, and feelings in order for us to be there for them. If we don’t feel like we are getting heard, it leaves us to feel almost as if we aren’t important enough to be heard. At least that has been something for me in life to go through.

I am currently training to be a peer mentor for other students and I have learned a lot of different techniques to be able to help to the best of my ability. I wasn’t aware of all the different ways individuals can confront a conversation. Two of the ways include empathy or sympathy. I consider these as the yin yang to communication. It is important to understand and fully hear what someone is telling you as well as react with the same feeling. If someone reaches out to you about a argument they had with someone, you won’t be excited or happy about it. You can react with sympathy by talking softer and being calm. Another important factor is to ask them if they just want someone to listen or if they want advice.

It is good to be aware when you might be overstepping. It is amazing to want to give advice, but listening is just as important. As long as we are showing we understand and hear what someone is saying, our relationships will be stronger. Others with know they can trust and rely on you. Sometimes it is okay to say no to others as well. If you do not feel like you are in a good place on your own, don’t push yourself to have to be there for someone else. If you need some time, take it! We can not help others if we are running low for care for our own health. Listen to what your own mind and body is saying and don’t ignore it!


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