Listening: A Case Study In Self-Actualization
Social interactions are mastered throughout a lifetime and involve many factors and skills that one may acquire at different times during one's life. One skill that is often underestimated, especially in American culture, is listening. Cultures such as those of Native Americans often place more importance on listening than does mainstream America (). Nonetheless, whatever popular culture believes about the relative importance of listening versus talking, listening remains a crucial skill to social effectiveness that manifests itself in surprising ways.
Beyond the traditional interpretation of listening as one person paying attention to the words of another, listening also occurs when one is expressing ideas to oneself, reading, watching television, or simplx observing events. The concept of listening reaches beyond interactions with another individual to encompass our relationship with ourselves, our creator, and our existence as growing beings influenced by the sum total of our experiences. This broader conception of listening, which is prominent in Native American culture as well as in many religions, lifts the art of listening to new heights and argues that we place more priority on honing our listening skills with the goal of growing and advancing as human beings.
The following case study traces a journey through the act of listening, highlighting the ways listening affects, connects, and builds a universal framework of shared