A Case for Listening

Listening.  I've been doing a lot of it in the last year. I always considered myself to be a good listener. To others. If a friend or family member needed an ear or counsel, I was there. But listening to others is different from listening to oneself. If we stop listening to ourselves, it's easy to get stuck. The longer it goes on, the harder it gets to distinguish between a "dip" and a misguided, unnecessary undertaking. It snowballs and saps our mental (and actual) resources until we decide to get unstuck–to disrupt the pattern and listen again! 

Start by listening to other people. What questions are they asking? How do they seek answers? How would their thinking apply to me? If we really are listening, this last bit will just happen, at which point we are able to listen to ourselves again. We start drawing parallels to our own lives and make sense of a few things that got their claws into us. We understand the "why." And, eventually, we are ready to move on. It might take time and a concerted effort to reduce the other noise in our lives, but it happens–getting unstuck (tips: get up earlier, read more and watch less, change your scenery to mix up your listening area). 

It sounds simplistic, almost cliche. But, in a world where our time and attention are increasingly scarce, it's no wonder we often fail to listen to others and ourselves.