Do you really hear everything that is spoken? Are you present enough to listen to me now in this moment? As easy as it may seem, it’s actually quite a challenge for all us nowadays. We have no room to breathe and are constantly being pulled in every which way. To give someone your full undivided attention seems like an unlikely possibility. It’s even difficult to give YOURSELF your full undivided attention. To me that is just frightening and an issue we as a culture we need to address
So often we find ourselves chiming in and speaking to solve situations and make our voices heard. We fear being silenced and overlooked as incapable of making an impact no matter or how big or small it may seem. It’s a constant competition to be the one who says the most revolutionary thing. Stemming from a cultural belief that we must be the best at what we choose to do. Would it be the end of the world to be second place and not first? Look at the majority of American Idol contestants. The most successful ones never win the show and still have a career. You know why they were successful? They took a step back and were thoughtful about their choices and actions. They Listened. They listened to themselves and played the game their way not giving into the competitive desire to be the best.
What would happen if you just for one day took a step out of that arena and just became the fly on the wall? What do you think you would hear, witness, and observe? Think of all the insight and perspective that lies outside of the narrow window we choose to scream our opinions out of to the town below. What would happen if you came out of that room and walked downstairs and out into the town square and interacted with these people? A world rich and vibrant exists in the stories and experiences in these people. All you have to do is listen. Listen closely. Listen attentively. Listen with an intent and purpose.
Everyone is guilty of tuning out speech they do not wish to hear. I will admit that I sometimes fall into this cycle and I do not hear things that I should probably hear. I selectively listen. I selectively listen not only to the people who I interact with in my life, but also I selectively listen to myself and what my mind says to me. Fear, insecurity, and isolation drive us into this mindset, at least it does for me. This is a change that I have actively worked to correct. Have I fully corrected it yet? No. In this process of healing that began with my choice to live a sober life, I have broken down the walls I built up and shattered the windows that blocked me into my own little world. I choose to listen. As much as I feel the pressure to speak and want to be heard because society deems it important, I understand the importance of listening. Ultimately, I will speak when I feel is appropriate and I will take the stance of listening when I feel I need to both externally and internally.
Listening is a form of participation in life. To be actively engaged with other people is living a purposeful life, whether it be you speaking or you listening. I challenge everyone to take some time to really listen and step outside of what you know and engage with those around you. However, you must not forget yourself. You must participate in your life to find any fulfillment whatsoever. You also have to open the dialogue with yourself. Talk to yourself. You can learn a lot from yourself. It’s all written in your past experiences. Sometimes studying yourself and coming to understand who you are can benefit not just you, but others around you. As much as you want to speak, listen first and then open your mouth.
I challenge people to have a conversation with themselves and the world beyond them as they move forward in life. Be aware of what you at putting into the universe. Listen to your internal responses and consider everything before you speak. Everything you say can and will be used against you if the opportunity is provided. Especially with the internet now everything is documented and it will follow you to the grave. Nothing is off the record. Speak confidently and acknowledge the consequences for off colored speech. Remember to be thoughtful when you speak and to be present when you listen. Take that with you from this blog. Now shut up and go really listen!
Speaking Now, Listening Later: