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Addressing the concerns of others is an important (and often difficult) facet of compassionate communication. Why? Because listening to others is not always easy, particularly when we hold differences of opinion, when we’re distracted, and when we simply haven’t learned to listen well. To authentically address others’ concerns, we need to be willing to set aside our judgments and to listen with an open heart.

Reflection on the Concerns of Others

Let’s face it: we don’t always listen well. There is no reason to be hard on ourselves for this, but it does serve as an opportunity for us to consider how we can be more attentive and compassionate to our fellow human beings. This mindfulness exercise is an invitation to reflect upon how we react to the concerns of others. It asks us:

  • What concern of others did you alleviate today?
  • What concern of others left you unclear about what to do today?
  • What concern of others did you think or feel was frivolous, misinformed, or stupid?
  • What action(s) will you take from what you observed in this exercise?

Since we all hold personal biases, we are all subject to making assumptions about the concerns that other people hold. The more we practice compassionate communication, the easier it becomes to listen with an open mind and heart.

The Importance of Listening to Others

Why is this important? Because as humans, we all want to be witnessed and heard. Every one of us has been misunderstood at some point in our lives (likely at many points), and so when we take steps to listen to others more openly, we create a more understanding and compassionate world.

Listening to others does not mean we must agree with what they say. In fact, it removes the notion of agreeing or disagreeing all together. Instead, it invites us to be present. What feelings, beliefs, and sensations are here? Can we hold them without judgment or condemnation? The more we can do this, the more peaceful the world becomes – both inner and outer.

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