Let Them Know Someone is Listening: Unpacking the Psychology of Hope [WED 9/25 1pET]

Posted on September 24, 2013 by


When we unplug from others, are we at risk of losing hope?

Unplugged:  How does a lack of listening imact our social interactions, our relationships, and our ability to hope for something better?

Nobody wants to be ignored. Yet I see it as a common and grim reality in the social change space. It impacts both those seeking help and those who seek to lend a hand.

What are common behaviors?

We unplug. We turn a deaf ear. We mumble “I gave at the office” .. and we begin to grow distant.

On the receiving end?

We lose our positive energy. We become demoralized. We mutter “why bother?” .. and we begin to lose hope.

Does social change stand a chance?

I am increasingly convinced that a lack of social connection and engagement .. aggrevated by a drop off in our active listening .. is beginning to erode our personal value systems, even as it diminishes our relationships. Sometimes it is subtle. We may become more insular in our behavior and our thinking. But eventully, the cultural noise and distractions of the 21st century drown out our convictions. We lose sight of our role models. Relationships can seem “less worth it”.  We stop listening, and not surprisingly, we soon find people aren’t listening to us. We start a spiral that can be the start of some serious trouble.

I remain inspired by a tweet a few weeks ago in our #socialchange #smchat by Su WilcoxFor the 2nd time, that one tweet has inspired a post. Her notion “let them know someone is listening” has had a profound effect on me. At first I thought it was simply great advice. But there’s a deeper message there, at the core of how social beneficiaries and stakeholders gain energy. In a nutshell, it is fueled by the support of others, often characterized as .. or driven by .. empathy.  

Said simply? Listening can be the primary spark of powerful motivational forces.

Perhaps I’m naive.  But if we listen, can’t we begin to restore hope in others?

In our 9/25 #smchat, let’s unpack the dynamics of deep listening as a function and driver of human capacity for hope. I am not a psychologist, but I do try to listen. And I’ve noticed it can spark amazing behaviors and reactions.

    • Q1. Why does deep listening change a relationship?
    • Q2. How can a FB “like” or Twitter “RT” or Google “+1” change the percpetion of the recipient?
    • Q3. What makes listening more genuine in the social change context?
    • Q4. If someone listens to us, can it move the needle in our capacity for hope? What is required?
    • Q5. What strategies might we pursuse to give hope a better chance?

Let’s reflect on the implications at #smchat, WEDS 9/25 1-2pET. 

We are still seeking the boundaries and edges for our 4th WEDS #socialchange series. The more we talk, though, the faster the boundaries seem to recede before us.

Let’s compare notes. I’ll see you online ..

Chris aka @sourcepov

Posted in: Social Change