Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The art of LISTENING...
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you find yourself trying to “get in where you fit in?” In other words, the only way you can get a word in is if they pause for a breath, sneeze, cough or maybe even choke? I’m all too familiar with that feeling…but from the opposite side of the spectrum....you see, I am a talker. In fact, it’s what makes me tick, but I now know that the more I talk, the more I miss out on opportunities of learning something new about someone.
For the record, I did not choose to be a talker, but my unique and divine make-up longs to take a deep and personal look inside the souls of people which usually creates conversation after conversation. I want to know who they are, why they do the things they do, where they hurt and as I continue to grow in my faith, along with maturity and my own life experiences, I realize that my talking and my natural longing of wanting to know about people doesn’t go away. What is interesting in all of this is as soon as I conquer one area of my life(listening), another is revealed to me.
I am now faced with conquering my annoyance with people who just won’t shut up. I know that isn’t nice; however, my entire blog speaks what is true to me so very honestly speaking, the truth is that I really do want to tell people to just shut up already. In particular, it’s the people who talk and talk and talk so much that you could take a shower, go grocery shopping, do a load of laundry and work a part-time job and they never knew that you left the phone.
It’s the people who can talk about their life hours upon hours along with the life of their children, spouses, job, what’s new, what’s old and everything in between but never, ever does the thought cross their mind to ask you about yours. Or, the best is the person who becomes quiet (under the guise of listening) but as soon as you’ve finished, they make it quite clear that you were apparently speaking a foreign language because they immediately delve RIGHT BACK into their own issues without once commenting on what they’ve just heard you say. Those types also have cases of extreme selfishness, a grandiose view of their own talents and a craving for admiration.
Finally, it’s the people who can't help but one-up you. They don’t even realize that they are trying to one-up you because it’s a part of who they’ve become. These people thrive on having an edge or an advantage over you by making their story more sensational, bigger, better and more interesting. Sadly, what they end up proving is that they really need someone to listen to them, not from the position that what they have to say is all that important but from the position that NO ONE listens to them ~ not even the voice activation feature on their cell phones.
So, why did I write this post? I wrote it for two reasons ~ one for me and one for you. For me, it serves as a reminder that the Lord has called me to listen. It doesn’t matter if the person ever asks me about my life, my children, my job, my dreams, goals or my day. It only matters that for the time spent whether on the phone or in person, they had someone who demonstrated care and concern. I’m working hard to get there without feeling like I still want to tell them to shut up!
For you, this blog hopefully and respectfully is a reminder that a real relationship is two-way. There is give and take. There is back and forth banter and both people should be able to respectfully contribute to the conversation. It also requires a deep sensitivity that allows you to listen and respond to the other person’s thoughts, concerns and cares.
I’ve said for a long time folks, that life is never about us. It’s always about someone else. We’re just being used to serve others and that includes listening. Don’t believe me? That’s fine but you can’t argue with “when words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent (Proverbs 10:19).”
While I continue to work hard to resist the temptation of wanting to tell you to shut up, I can at least promise you that I will listen.