Minute Meditation on Applying Viktor Frankl’s Concept of “Self-Transcendence” to Listening to Another Person

Viktor Frankl, Psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor

Listening is both passive, that is, an act of receiving; and active, a “reaching out” to another human being, connecting, however briefly, with him or her. Listening is an acknowledgment and affirmation of another person’s existence. It is an act of respecting someone. Listening is also an act of love in that one is giving one’s time and attention to another person, what he or she is saying. Listening is, first, to understand, not interrupting him or her; then, if appropriate, to reply. So many talk; so few listen. At the essence of listening, then, is self-transcendence, the unselfish act of love, of giving oneself – one’s time and attention – to another human being.


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