Advice on how to listen, according to Eric Fromm

The German psychoanalyst, Eric Fromm, gives interesting advice as to how to listen to other people. Listening, according to Fromm, “is an art like the understanding of poetry”, and as any art has norms and rules.

He affirms that the basic practice of listening is to be completely focused on listening. The person who is listening must be free of anxiety and have the capacity to empathize with the other person. This condition of empathy is crucial to the ability to love. To understand the other person is to love him, in the sense that one extends oneself towards the other, overcoming the fear of losing oneself. Fromm says, “Understanding and loving are inseparable. If they are separate, it is a cerebral process and the door to essential understanding remains closed.”

What can we learn from Fromm’s wisdom?

Yes. We can learn how to listen with attention, to release our own anxiety, and to connect with the other person through understanding and empathy, and this way, communicate love.

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