“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”

David Augsburger

Ah, the human condition! A complex tapestry of emotions, desires, and the ever-elusive quest for validation. We’re all like radio stations—broadcasting our thoughts, feelings, and the occasional embarrassing story about that time we accidentally sent a cutesy text meant for our partner to our boss. But what’s a radio station without an audience? A lonely DJ talking to himself, that’s what.

Now, imagine you’re at a dinner party. You’re seated next to Uncle Alfred, who’s hard of hearing and has a penchant for discussing his conspiracy theories in excruciating detail. You muster the courage to share a heartfelt story, perhaps about your recent existential crisis sparked by an unfortunate incident with a self-checkout machine. You pour your soul into every word, only to realize Uncle Alfred is more engrossed in his mashed potatoes than your emotional turmoil. It’s like singing a soulful ballad to a brick wall. Devastating, isn’t it?

But then, there’s that magical moment when someone actually listens. I mean really listens, not just nodding while mentally composing their grocery list. It’s like hitting the emotional jackpot. Suddenly, you’re not just a voice in the wilderness—you’re a rock star belting out your greatest hits to a sold-out crowd. And let me tell you, that feeling is the emotional equivalent of finding a twenty-dollar bill in an old pair of jeans.

Why does being heard feel so darn good? Well, it’s simple. When someone listens to you, they’re not just hearing your words—they’re hearing you. They’re tuning into your frequency, validating your existence, and in that moment, you’re not just a blip on the radar—you’re the whole darn show. It’s like being wrapped in a warm, fuzzy blanket of validation, and who doesn’t love that?

So the next time you find yourself at a social gathering, sandwiched between Uncle Alfred and his conspiracy theories, remember this: Listening is an act of love. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, like a well-aged wine, but without the hangover. Tune into someone else’s frequency, and you just might find that you’re not only making their day but enriching your own life in the process.

So go ahead, be the listener someone needs today, and who knows? You might just find your own emotional encore.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.