On Listening

A couple of years ago, I learned the value of listening. 

I had spent my time drowning out the voices of others with my own opinions and unfounded thoughts, my own advice regarding a situation I had yet to experience. I found myself believing that my beliefs were better than others’, that my viewpoint was empirical, that I understood everything. 

And then I became depressed and everything changed. 

Suddenly, the world was no longer a cookie-cutter image of what we desire it to be and suddenly, there were layers behind the masks behind the facades behind the false images that we are perfect individuals: layers upon layers of lies. 

Occasionally, I would hint at an issue that I was having, but the advice that I received was never quite right. As I talked with people more and more, as they tried to solve my problems with generic answers, I felt increasingly isolated from my friends and my community at large, as none of these conversations helped in the slightest. 

People simply didn’t understand.

I needed someone to listen to me, to read my messages, to let me sit on their bed and cry. I needed a supporting shoulder, not a backlash of “to do”s regarding a situation that a person had never in their lives dreamed of experiencing. 

And people wonder why therapy is such a thriving profession. 

We have forgotten how to listen to one another, how to absorb the information given to us and simply be there for a person when they need it. We have forgotten how to listen. 

Through listening, we connect with one another. We sympathize. We become better employers, employees, friends, family, lovers… people. 

It has become a lost art that desperately needs to be rediscovered in this era of instant response, technology-driven madness. People feel increasingly disconnected from one another, isolated in communities that believe themselves to be helping. 

How much will it take to change that? 

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