A friend told me that I’m not a good listener.
“What?!,” I said, when I first heard it. Or, semi-heard it. “That can’t be true…”
It is both a surprise, and a problem, I know. Now, I believe this is the first time anyone has ever cautioned me about my listening skills. Naturally, this is why first hearing of it came as a shock.
Incidentally, the individual who declared my lack of auditory efficacy is also one who appears to enjoy giving me a “hard time”.
A “teaser” is how some might describe one of this ilk. At times, some may claim teasers can be a bit “challenging,” or occasionally, and in extreme cases others may even say they display the onset of a slight “attitude “.
Not me, though.
Why not? Well, among other reasons, a meme I recently saw mentioned that a truly strong individual wouldn’t use such adjectives.
Of course, we know how valid and well-researched memes often are. Epitomes of erudition and pinnacles of scholarly rigor, in many cases.
Obviously, I’m being ironic – I believe that everything we read needs to be taken with a grain of salt. That said, and as I’ve stated before, I believe that wisdom can come from a variety of different places.
Like Bruce Lee’s style of martial art, Jeet Kune Do – We can take the techniques (or in this case, the learnings) that work for us, and leave the rest.
My old pastor used to say about reading the bible that we should take the meat, and leave the bones.
Bottom line, it’s important to avoid a spirit of criticism in all interactions.
We must develop self-awareness and be conscious of it while working to address it. Simple kindness, civility, patience, graciousness, and humility are signs of great strength. Additionally, when looking at witty banter, we need to be sensitive to the fine line.
People have delicate hearts, and it’s important to treat them with respect.
Self-reflection and the golden rule. These are key.
Back to the main topic…
I’m really not sure how serious this “listening” problem is for me. I know I’ve definitely had my moments of poor listening, though, and I think I know the cause.
Not living in the present moment.
As we know, strategy implies planning ahead. This skill is vital to our success. Of equal importance, however, is finding balance by living in the present moment, and expressing an attitude of appreciation for what we have.
Years ago, I remember sitting at the kitchen table in my grandmother’s apartment. I was eating a delicious fried egg sandwich she had prepared for me.
My grandmother was always cooking me fried egg sandwiches. Often, she would make one, wrap it in aluminum foil, and, along with her big yellow dog would walk it over to the family business next door where I was working at the time. These sandwiches were so good.
At that particular time, while eating my sandwich, I remember being frustrated, and not really listening to my grandmother. My frustration had nothing to do with the food or the company.
My frustration was due to the fact that, at the time, I had certain career plans which weren’t coming to fruition. The thing is, that wasn’t the place and time to be brooding on this.
I should have been enjoying my fried egg sandwich, and appreciating the time with my grandmother.
Nowadays, I’d give almost anything for my grandmother to be around, and for her to make me a fried egg sandwich again.
There is wisdom in pausing, when the time is right, to enjoy the moment. Letting go of worry and anxiety. Freeing yourself from overpowering emotions. And just enjoying, and being grateful for what you have – what’s right in front of you.
I have a friend, who, for the first time in a long time is seeing someone they really like.
Surprisingly, it makes them a bit anxious. I know this person has dated a lot of “bad apples” in the past, and they’re a bit unsure of themselves in this scenario. They want to do things right.
After listening to their entire story, I told them that they need to just relax and enjoy their time with this special person in the present moment.
Of course, they told me that they will still continue to make plans. Relationships, and life, are a steady growing and developing process. We’re constantly taking in and giving out new information.
The thing is, planning too much leads to diminishing returns after a point. In relationships especially, we can only see so far ahead, and we need to work with, and enjoy the gifts and the important people we have and are with in the present moment.
This is one of the great joys of life.