Learning to listen is valuable to living

Published 10:07 am Thursday, March 19, 2015

I’m taking a public speaking and communications class in college. We do different exercises for writing and delivering speeches and we also give three speeches throughout the semester.

Last week, we learned about the importance of listening. Our exercise was to write about what listening meant to us. Then, we had to sit in complete silence for 15 minutes. The requirement was to be without electronics and interaction with others; simply just sit in the quiet and listen to what was going on around.

At first, it was really challenging and kind of scary. Silence is intimidating. I did it on a cold, windy night. I heard the wind whistling past my bedroom window, but it was almost peaceful. I heard myself thinking. My thoughts seemed really loud.

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I realized those 15 minutes of silence were really important. They allowed me to listen to myself, because normally I wouldn’t have taken the time to do that.

The other night, I was in a yoga class. We spent the last 10 minutes of class in silence. That was harder than allowing myself to just listen to myself because our instructor told us to push thoughts out of our minds. What a complete opposite of what I was doing the week before.

Earlier this week, I did an interview with an artist who is working on a project. She said what really struck her about her project is how many people have listened to her.

You don’t need recognition, whether it be a like on Facebook, or a verbal response, for someone to listen. You have to learn to listen to yourself. If you’re saying or doing something, chances are someone is listening to you.

Listening is important. Think how intently you are listening next time you’re taking something in.


Albert Lea High School graduate Erin Murtaugh is a first-year student at Rochester Community and Technical College. She can be reached at murtaugh.erin@gmail.com.