“How to listen? It is harder than you think.

“I don’t believe in critical listening, for that only puts a person in a straitjacket of hesitancy. He begins to choose his words solemnly or primly. His little inner fountain cannot spring. Critical listeners dry you up.

“But creative listeners are those who want you to be recklessly yourself, even at your very worst, even vituperative, bad- tempered. They are laughing and just delighted with any manifestation of yourself, bad or good.

“For true listeners know that if you are bad- tempered it does not mean that you are always so. They don’t love you just when you are nice; they love all of you.

“In order to learn to listen, here are some suggestions: Try to learn tranquility, to live in the present a part of the time every day. Say to yourself, ‘Now. What is happening now? This friend is talking. I am quiet. There is endless time. I hear it, every word.’

“Then suddenly you begin to hear not only what people are saying, but what they are trying to say, and you sense the whole truth about them.

“And you sense existence, not piecemeal, not this object and that, but as a translucent whole.”

--- By Brenda Ueland. Full essay here: Tell Me More.