Let's hold hands and listen to each other

How hard is it to listen? Seems like it should be easy but is it really? I'm not convinced, and after listening to the Pod Club pick of the week I believe even more that listening is an art and not something everyone comes to easily or readily. How open are we to really listening to what someone is saying to us? What expectations do we carry into interactions and how do they color what we actually hear? Do we listen to what people are saying or do we hear what we expect them to say?
I don't have answers to these questions, but they've got me thinking about the kind of listener I am. I like to think of myself as a good listener, but I know I've done the thing where I am thinking about what I want to say while someone else is talking. That's not listening at all, that's just waiting to talk. And how many times have groaned inwardly when someone out in public will try to start a conversation with me? Countless times, and who knows what sort of experiences I've missed out on because I'm convinced a stranger who wants to talk to me is either crazy or attempting to hit on me. Gah! Am I really that self-centered? I don't want to be and I don't think I always am, in fact last week I had a very nice conversation with an older gentleman at the bus stop, but I think that I have a lot of work to do.
One of the other points that really struck me from the podcast was the idea that sometimes we don't want to listen to other people because that might mean we agree with what they're saying. Why does it seem so impossible to try to hear people who have differing views than our own? I think it's partly because it's uncomfortable, and then I think a lot of times we feel the need to defend our own view and then the differing view points could turn into a debate or argument. Why can't we just hear what they are saying without a desire to change, alter, or convince them they are wrong? For me, I find that because I am passionate in my beliefs it's difficult for me to hear an opposing view point without wanting to jump in with my own thoughts but I'm not doing it with an attitude of acceptance and I need to realize that just because someone has different ideas than I do does not mean that they aren't just as passionate as I am. (Even though they're probably wrong. haha just kidding, mostly.)
I want to be a better listener. I want to really hear what people around me are saying, what they are meaning, without my preconceived ideas already placed upon them. I want to practice being in the moment during conversations without wandering into my thoughts trying to decide what I want to say next, how I'm going to bring the conversation back to me. And mostly I need to get over the idea that people out in the world who want to strike up a conversation with me are out to get me in some way. I want to smile more, listen more, and learn more.
Let's try it and see what happens.

1 comment:

... said...

Can you hear that? That's me applauding your insights! I know Los Angeles is sort of far away but I'm clapping super loud! I have to say that you are an amazing listener Jill. I always know you're really listening to me because you wait till I'm done and you always offer great advice when I ask or you validate my feelings whether you agree or not.

Yay for PodClub! We're like a really small gang...sort of.