Listening to What Others Are Saying to You

It’s come to my notice lately how easy it is for all of us to simply not properly listen to what others are saying.

We’re all in this big soup together. Each of us has different interests, qualities, skills, and a different body. And we’re driven forward by what we deeply believe in and somehow just seem to forget that not everyone is going to be as excited about scrapbooking as we are. We let our interests colour our movement, our thoughts, our words, and more. And without noticing it we make assumptions about the rest of the world based on what we think the central focus is, namely what we like.

This now brings me to what I mentioned at the start. Do you ever find yourself in situations where you are so consumed by your own world that despite asking someone else for some information, you don’t actually hear what they said in response? You might then make a choice or take some action which totally negates what they just told you. I’m going to give you a little example from my life from quite a few years ago. It’s one that has really stuck in my memory as it was pretty shocking to realise what I was doing.

My husband and I were in a Vancouver cafe with a friend. I was going to go to the counter and get us some drinks. Our friend already had her drink. My husband wanted the same kind of shake as I did. I arrived back at our table with 2 large cups. He immediately said, “Why did you get me a large one? I asked for medium.” Our friend jumped in and said, “Yes, I heard him. He said medium. You weren’t listening to him.” She smiled.

I was taken aback for a moment and realised I hadn’t listened to what he had said. I was going for large and so just presumed he wanted that, too. I was wrong.

Now that might not seem to be such a great issue. But the point was that I really hadn’t listened to him. He ended up finishing about 2/3 of the way through the drink because he wasn’t that thirsty. I had paid extra for large rather than medium. And I had demonstrated my ability to ask for an answer then completely ignore that information, filling in the gap with what my mind thought it should be. That’s some insight. I then began to wonder what other situations I did this in too. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t a one-off.

The silver lining of this was that it had been abruptly brought to my attention and I had got the message loud and clear. I also clearly saw that we, as a race, tend to do this in all walks of life to each other. Taking much more extreme examples, there are so many examples of where nations express wishes and desires and governments then just steamroll over the top, not taking any of it into consideration, ploughing on ahead in desperation to carry out their own agendas.

It’s so important for us to see where this is happening. We can all begin with ourselves and tidy up our own backyard. If everyone did this, we wouldn’t have any problems. But the thing is, there are those who actively choose not to gain insights and learn from them. Especially if there is a conflict of interests.

I feel that it would hugely benefit all of us if everyone learned to honestly speak up when they noticed that other people or groups weren’t listening properly. It can be a genuine mistake, a bad habit, and that person may be really grateful to have it pointed out to them. However, often it isn’t a mistake and it’s especially important in these situations to find our voice and let the world know what is being overlooked. A large is not a medium. And a clear no, thank you is not the same as being hesitant about something.

So, let’s all stay with the honesty and truly listen to what everyone else is saying. And clearly bring it to the table if we feel the boundaries are being overstepped.

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