True Listening

Updated: Feb 1

A surprising action we can take to really make a difference in our world is simple. Beth Vogt helps us learn to listen.


True Listening By Beth K. Vogt

As a novelist, I am told to analyze the scenes in my manuscripts by deciding if a scene is an action or a reaction scene. Is something happening? Or is a character reacting to something that has happened? Real life is also made up of actions and reactions - we see that played out in our families, in our communities, and in the news, day in and day out. Since the beginning of 2020, people across the globe have acted and reacted to COVID-19, while here in America, citizens act and react to events fueled by injustice and racism. But in between all the doing and responding, are we overlooking the one true catalyst of change? Are we taking the time to listen to one another? "One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say." Bryant H. McGill (1969-), author & activist  People are marching and protesting ... and yes, some people are yelling and looting ... and there's a lot of talk, talk, talking going on. But in the midst of all of this, does anyone care enough to listen? I'm not talking about a roundtable debate with points and counterpoints, where the goal is someone being declared the winner and someone being dubbed the loser. Listening is one of the best ways to express care for someone else. Truly listening is being willing to stop talking - to cede the floor, if you will, and allow someone else to speak while you choose to remain silent. Your only goal? To listen with intent to hear what someone else is saying. This kind of focused listening is healing. As Cheryl Richardson, NYT bestselling author and life coach says, "People start to heal the moment they feel heard." Listening is an act of the will - your free will - a deliberate choice to stop talking, to stop trying to prove your point, so that you can try to understand someone else's story. Someone else's pain, which is so often fueling their frustration, their confusion, their anger. Who knows? You might be the first person to hear what they have to say without interrupting them - and without just reacting. Who knows - maybe then your reaction will change. Sometimes the most valuable thing you can offer someone else is your silence. You honor them - you honor their story - by listening. "People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other." Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), minister and civil rights activist

Beth K. Vogt believes God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We've Ever Been, the final book in Beth's Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, released May 2020. Other books in the women's fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers groups and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at

© Elisa Morgan 2020

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