By nature, I am quite critical of myself. I am aware of all of my faults before anyone else. I do not extend this criticism to others. I reserve it for myself. But there are a few things that I do well. I am blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who are extremely supportive. They agree with what follows.
One of my favorite things about myself is that I am a good listener. Since I was very young, my contemporaries have confided in me. Sometimes it’s because I let them know that I am willing to be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. But many times I think it was a matter of just being there when someone needed to talk through a situation. I don’t consider myself an especially wise person, so I hesitate to offer advice. In fact, I believe most of the time advice is not what is required. It is the simple act of quietly listening that is valuable at the right time. And I think something that goes hand in hand with being a good listener is the gift of perception. I can often sense what is behind or underneath the conversation, but is not actually voiced.
I think that I was a bit quieter when I was younger, which lends itself to being a good listener. As I have gotten older, I fear that I may be becoming more talkative. I don’t want to lose my ability to listen well, so this is something I am conscious of. I don’t want anything to cause people to feel like they can’t talk to me. I have always considered it an honor that people have shared things, big and small, with me. And I hope this continues.