When we listen to people talk about their experiences and the choices they have made, do we really listen? I mean do we listen without making it personal. Personal, about us?
When we hear someone else’s story, our brain computes the information (or our perception of the information) and searches through it’s ‘My Life Experiences database’ to find something to match. It helps us to understand. When our brain finds the information it thinks it is looking for, we have instant access to ‘our story’.
Our story is sometimes bigger and better, more dramatic, more tragic. Our listening skills are then distracted by our need – need for acknowledgement of our experiences. Or maybe our story is smaller, not so interesting or exciting, no wow factor and the we feel, unimportant and dull thus being distracted with feelings of inadequacy, resentment and jealousy.
Are we still listening in all of this? And what about when we believe we know what’s best for others? That’s a good distraction too!
Strong opinions over the way other people live their live and loves are a reflection of what is going on inside of us at that particular time. We may believe that we know what is better for them, because we are close to them, have known them for a while or because, lets face it, we just know we know better! But, you cannot truly know if someone should be doing something differently. You can only know that if you were in that person’s shoes you might do that something differently.
And that makes a difference. Truth is, you are not in that person’s shoes.
To be in their shoes, you would have had to have lived their life. To have had their parents. To have gone to the same schools and colleges. Got the same grades and gone on to get the same job. To have had all of their experiences. To have had all of their heartaches, joys and celebrations. To have experienced all of their insecurities, their love, their hate. To have had their first success, their first failure. To have made exactly the same choices as them, involving exactly the same people at exactly the same time. Unless you are living in a parallel universe, you are not in that person’s shoes, and you never will be.
We are all different and we all have something to contribute. We are all born with a place in the world and we can all make a difference to those around us.
I wonder how many people I will listen to today 🙂 how about you?