Yery Joo/ South High School 12th Grade
In today‘s society, many teenagers tend to be engrossed in their own thoughts that they tend to keep everything to themselves. This engrossment can foster many mental illnesses that may potentially lead to unwanted consequences such as substance abuse, addiction, and unfortunately suicide. However, these unwanted factors can be prevented through one simple technique: active listening.
Active listening is a very helpful method that is often used by professional counselors and psychiatrist in order to effectively communicate one’s thoughts. While many people believe that this technique has to be acquired through proper training, this is not true at all; Ordinary people, like you and me, can also master the technique of active listening. All you need to know is the three A‘s: attention, attitude, and adjustment.
The first of the three A’s, attention, is simple. Foremost, attention is what makes the difference of simple hearing and active listening. Attention requires people to put intentional effort. Rather than allowing words come in from one side of the ear and out the other, active listening requires attention to focus and absorb the information that the speaker is giving, similar to how a sponge ingests water.
The second of the three A‘s, attitude, requires a bit more effort. When one participates in active listening, the attitude that they exude is extremely important. One must go in with a positive and encouraging mindset and the reasoning behind that is pretty simple. For example, let’s say that you are in a desperate situation where you‘re hoping to get advice but the person who is giving you advice has a negative attitude. Rolling eyes, scrolling through the phone, and yawning all may be implied as indications that the listener is uninterested and the whole purpose of active listening is negated. This makes the person in need feel uncomfortable or even like a burden. On the other hand, if the person listening is giving their undivided attention and showing that they care, the speaker feels appreciated and valued which adds to the benefit of active listening.
The last of the three A’s, adjustment, is the ability to be open and flexible. It‘s best not to jump to conclusions or to make any judgements based on previous experiences. Because everyone goes through the same problems with different outcomes, it’s best not to expect predictions but rather to wait for the speaker to fully illustrate their problems just so that the listener can have a better understanding.
With three of these very simple A‘s, anyone can become an active listener. Julia Hsieh, a volunteer at community helpline says, “I think active listening is a good way to encourage the speaker and make them feel listened to. We’re taught to do that through ‘verbal nods’.” “But sometimes you don‘t want to be creepy and have your eyes too open that the person speaking thinks something’s wrong with you,” one active listener, Halle Holzbauer speaks. With this, I think that anyone can heal from active listening, whether you speak or listen.
<Yery Joo/ South High School 12th Grade