Thursday, June 6, 2013

Free Thoughts/Free Listening

I'm going to take a break and step off of my railings against the modern church, and take a step onto another soapbox for a change.

There's something that I've begun to notice about myself and others. Conversations between one another have become less of a chance to listen and learn, and more of a competition to outwit, or out-brag one another.

Before I begin, I have to be honest and admit that I am a complete hypocrite. I have the tendency to do this often and I am a terrible listener. I really am. I seem to have the ability to listen to every other conversation around me, except the one I'm in. It's ridiculous. Even through this blog, I'm being a hypocrite. All I do with this is write down MY thoughts and MY opinions. I don't take into account what others may think about the topic. It's just all my own opinions. So please know that I lumping myself in with all of this.

I noticed this in recent conversations that I've had, and in how I converse with others. I observed that halfway through someone talking, an inevitable interruption would take place from someone else, relaying a story of something they did, or experienced that related to the topic. Which is all fine and dandy. I have no problem with sharing stories, in fact, I adore stories. However, when it comes to the point that you can't even listen to what the other person is saying because you're waiting for the perfect opening to jump in and share what you want to say...well then it becomes a problem.

Conversation has morphed into some kind of weird competition thing, hasn't it? It's become this "oh you got stung by a bee? Well let me tell you about the time I got stung by a bee AND encountered a shark" (Okay. That was probably a terrible example, but what can I say? I love sharks and somehow they end up in every example/metaphor I give) My point is, it shouldn't be some kind of bragging competition, or your opportunity to share a monologue.

There's this guy I know, who is pretty great at conversing with people, mainly because he doesn't talk. At least not while the other person is talking. He genuinely listens and cares about what the other person says. And guess what? He even remembers things they've said from previous conversations, even the most minor details that others would overlook. Maybe that's not a big deal to anyone else, but it is to me. And I admire him greatly for it. And not only is it something I admire, but it's also a character trait I desperately want to achieve. Whenever I talk with this guy and he mentions something I said, something I didn't really consider that important, it shows me that he was really listening. I mean, if he can remember some minor detail, then he definitely was listening to the more important parts. And for some reason that really comforts me.

We all want someone who will listen to us. And I think sometimes we focus SO much on that, you know...having someone who will listen, that we forget to listen. If you truly think about it, conversation is beautiful and so essential to our lives. There are times when we need to talk, when we need to share, and when we need to unburden ourselves. It's such a special thing, and too often I am caught up in my own desire to share and speak that I forget that. 

My prayer for myself, is that I learn how to be silent in conversation. Not because I'm bored or anything like that, but because I am taking in what the other person is saying, remembering the small and major details, and simply listening to them. That's what I want.

Anywho. I did not intend this post to be this long. As always, I hope that it somehow ended up making sense..if not, well than I'm very sorry.