Listening, really listening, to someone is a simple yet powerful act of kindness. To actively pay attention and be mindful of what someone else is saying is a profound way of saying, "I care." It says to that person, "I care enough about you to try to understand you. I'm sacrificing my time to see your perspective, hear out your ideas, and connect to how you feel."
Listening to others also tells them that they are valued. It speaks to their hearts by saying to them that what they say matters. Their experience is valid, even if they think that it may be dismissed by others. Listening tells them that their lives are authentic.
There are plenty of times during my day where I just want someone to listen to me. It can be at home, at work, or anywhere in between. It feels good to be understood. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by people who will invest a part of their day and energy to connect with me.
Knowing all this, I make an extra effort all day every day to really listen to others. I focus my effort and energy into being fully present with whoever I'm listening to. In doing so, I employ my mind, ears, and heart in service to others.