Compassionate Listening & Speaking from the Heart

Jun 06, 2023

Compassionate Listening

"Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

Compassionate listening is an attentive and empathetic approach to hearing and understanding others. It involves one’s full presence and focus to the speaker while demonstrating genuine care and empathy for their experiences, emotions, and perspectives. Compassionate listening goes beyond simply hearing the words spoken; it involves honoring the speaker’s feelings and cultivating a non-judgmental, courageous, and generative space where participants feel safe and heard.

Key aspects of compassionate listening

  •  Presence – Being fully present and giving one’s undivided attention to the speaker without distractions or interruptions.
  •  Empathy – Demonstrating empathy by seeking to understand the speaker’s emotions, experiences, and points of view.
  •  Non-judgement – Suspending judgment and refraining from criticizing or evaluating the speaker’s thoughts, feelings or experiences.
  •  Open minded – Participate with an open mind and set aside preconceived notions or biases, being receptive to different ideas and experiences.
  •  Safe – Creating a safe space where the speaker feels accepted and understood regardless of their perspective.
  •  Validation – Assuring the speaker's feelings matter and are worthy of attention and understanding.
  •  Holding space – Avoid the urge to provide immediate advice, solutions or personal anecdotes allowing the speaker to express themselves fully without interruption or redirection.
  •  Silence – Silence between words is honored without trying to fill the space.
  •  Being heard – The speaker experiences being heard with understanding and compassion.

Compassionate listening is a genuine and heartfelt practice that seeks to create a supportive and empathetic environment for an individual to share their thoughts, feeling, and experiences. It promotes understanding, connection, and healing.

Speaking from the Heart

“The heart will inform the brain what to say and how to say it.” Sarah Blondin

Speaking from the heart is expressing yourself authentically, genuinely, and with emotional sincerity allowing your words to carry depth and meaning to another. When you speak from the heart you tap into your true emotions and innermost truths thus sharing your thoughts, feelings, and desires from a place of vulnerability and honesty.

Key aspects of speaking from the Heart

  • Authenticity – Genuine expressing of beliefs, values, and emotions in ways that are true to yourself, sincere, and without pretense.
  • Connection – Words become a bridge that connects your inner world to the heart of another.
  • Clarity – Honestly expressed thoughts and feelings promote understanding and help avoid confusion or ambiguity or misunderstandings.
  • Emotional Resonance – Sincere expression evokes resonance with others touching the heart of the listener and fostering understanding and compassion.
  • Empowering – Speaking honestly and authentically allows you to own your truth, express your thoughts, experiences, and needs, and cultivate self-acceptance.
  • Healing – Speaking from the heart gives voice to emotions and experiences allowing pent-up emotions to be released and witnessed which can help with closure and connection with others who have similar experiences.
  • Inspire – Sharing from the heart can ignite a similar response in those who are listening, creating an environment where they feel safe and invited to do the same.

Some tips to help with speaking from the heart:

  1. Begin with a deep breath, and soften your gaze.
  2. Take a moment to connect with your heart, emotions, and intentions before speaking.
  3. Allow your words to flow from your heart.
  4. Be mindful of your needs and that of the listener.

Speaking from the heart is a transformative way to bring authenticity, connection, and emotional resonance to interactions with others. Speaking from a place of genuine sincerity promotes understanding and supports personal healing, growth, and empowerment. Speaking from the heart can sometimes feel uncomfortable for you and/or the listener. Embracing and moving through the discomfort can foster deeper connections and understanding.



Compassionate Listening is a Buddhist tenet: What it is and Why it Matters, Yang-Yang Cheng –

The Journey of Discovering Compassionate Listening, Peter Kimble, RN, MA and Anita Bamford-Wade, RN, MA, DNurs

6 Tips for Compassionate Listening, Marilyn Wedge Ph.D.

Speak from the Heart -

Speak the Heart -

What Does Speaking from the Heat Mean?