Day 7: Am I Really Listening?

Yes, this week I read books, watched movies, exercised and generally enjoyed another  relaxing summer week. Today I completed a Crossfit workout that turned my whole body into jello, but all I could think about was listening. Generally, my auditory processing is questionable on my best days. If I have to ask for directions, I usually pray that’s it less than three steps, because more than that, without a visual representation? You’ve lost me. Turn right. . .where? Just tell me to pass Taco Bell and turn right at the yellow sign next to the Wells Fargo bank.

However, today I don’t want to talk about my scrambled auditory senses (Although, they’ve got me in trouble on more than one occasion.) Due to the recent focus on mental health in the news, I want to talk about real listening. Not just hearing someone talk while you’re creating a mental checklist or checking your phone. Nodding your head because whatever. . . . you’ve got more important things to do. Wondering when you could talk. Or disagree with them.

But hearing them. Their story. Considering their words. Empathizing. Putting yourself in their shoes for five seconds. Even if it’s not your style, not your belief, not your system, not your kind of person, listening without an agenda or angle.

It’s so hard to do. Especially when a person is not like you. Especially when you’re busy and daily life is screaming for your attention. Especially when you don’t have to. Don’t need or want to.

But you never know what will happen from what teachers like to call “active listening.” Listening with more than your ears but your mind and soul. Kids, need to do it, but adults do too.

Maybe you’ll learn more about a perspective or point of view you didn’t understand. Maybe it will inspire you to research, volunteer, adjust your thinking, or make a life change. Or even better, maybe it will help that person. Maybe they just need a listening ear. That’s all. Because they’re struggling, they want someone to listen. Care enough to listen. And then maybe pray or do something. But the first step is to listen.

It’s my goal for the summer to listen with open ears and a more open heart, because I don’t do it enough. Also, I know how it feels when I am going through a rough patch and someone takes the time to listen. I feel I am heard, known, and seen. Not sure why, but I do.

And no, listening to gossip does not count. That’s easy listening.

In conclusion, my inspiration for listening was the video below. It brought tears to my eyes, because it’s a key example of why we need to listen more.

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