Communicating. We do it daily, so you’d think we’d be aces at it. And yet so often we spend our days arguing, screaming to be heard, understood, or even to just once be “right”. So many of us feel that we are unheard, so we shout until we are hoarse and the people around us are deaf from the sound.
My father is legally deaf and since I was eleven has used a cochlear implant to hear. He’s often told me that while it was a vast improvement over the hearing aids that were beginning to fail him, he cannot process many sounds at once like hearing people can. He must focus on one specific sound. He can’t watch television and talk to someone. He can’t listen to music and carry a conversation. He must stop all distractions, even in his own mind, and fully focus on someone or something. Only after he has heard everything he needs to does he formulate a response.
Stay with me now, I’m about to drop a bomb.
We need to shut up. Sounds funny coming from this motor-mouth but I mean it. We need to shut our mouths and open our ears. Hear what others say, what others need to say.
Don’t listen to respond to them, listen so you can see things from their point of view. We spend so much of our time formulating responses to people that we don’t actually hear what they have to say to us, we just hear that they don’t agree. I can’t count the number of time what I was saying was dismissed or blatantly ignored because someone else decided that what they had to say was more important. I’m probably guilty of doing the same to others as well.
Don’t get offended just because you don’t agree with someone’s views. Take this as a chance to discover how others think. Today’s society is full of opinionated people, some uninformed, but even more who know what they are talking about, who’ve done research, who are passionate about what they believe. Two people can have differing views, and both can be right, but until we all learn to shut up and take turns sharing those views, no one will know what is going on.
Don’t tune out just because they’re discussing something you don’t find interesting. Take the chance to learn something you never knew before. My most interesting moments in university were lectures. I found that moments where I wasn’t required to formulate an opinion on something I’d never thought of before gave my mind the chance to absorb new information. The same goes for communicating with others. You might not find the science of space interesting, that doesn’t mean you can enjoy and learn when someone lights up while talking about supernova’s and the future of space travel.
Don’t scream and shout just because you disagree or you think the other person is misinformed. Take the time to listen to their points, hear them, understand their words. No one likes to admit when their wrong. Sadly, many would rather just bellow until the roof collapses rather than say, “Oh, well I guess I was mistaken.” Don’t be that person.
I’m not perfect and struggle daily with the inability to focus, to hear, to listen. That’s partially my ADHD, but I can’t blame that completely. It’s my own fault for not doing my part to stop distractions, stop forming a response, stop hearing their voice and not listening to their words. And daily, daily, I work on changing that. Everyone should do the same.
Talk to me, I’m listening.