Listeners

Me. Me. Me.

One of the most revealing traits of human selfishness does not come from a lack of compassion towards others or from a strong desire to only look out for themselves. What clearly makes me realize of the undemountable ego people have of themselves is when I see all my stories somehow become a basis for their own stories.

The inability to ‘listen’, it is alas a common trait found in a large number of people. Of course, a conversation between two people is based on sharing common feelings, on relating oneself to the story of others. There is a fine line however between listening and nodding your head along with the story and snatching away that story for your own selfish purpose, that of telling a story of your own.

Because, let’s be honest, everybody has a story to tell. And everybody wants to tell their story at some point. We all want to talk about the butterflies we have after a decent blind date, the frustrating presentation we had to do or just the simple daily anxiety caused by a superior. And after all, all we want is the envious and encouraging look, the comforting and sympathetic words and the common anger session where they fit. Instead, what some of us get is the butterflies from an ancient blind date that ALSO happened to Miss X, the other so-much-more frustrating presentation and peers and the horrendous misdeeds perpetrated by the other boss.

People are not ‘born’ listeners. Listeners are those who have given up on sharing as much as they would like to and who have chosen to listen to the ‘other story’ because there was absolutely no way to convey their words without having them shadowed over by that ‘other story’.

But maybe that’s the way the world is and should be, because if the world were full of listeners, then there actually would be no one to listen to, right?

I just hope that some of the listeners gathered the effort to close their ears and open their mouths for once, and that some of the talkers would do the opposite. To balance. Just once in a while. Listeners wouldn’t know how to talk for too long of a time anyway.

 

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