To have someone, with patient interest say; Tell me more! might be one of the most loving things we can do for each other. Very many of us never did hear that growing up. Instead we were told to be quiet, to listen up, to make our point faster, listen to our elders, parents, teachers, to know our place, etc or have the people around us glaze over as soon as we opened our mouths.
As children that made us feel insignificant, uninteresting, not welcome…..
It still makes us feel that way, because now we are the ones who keep telling ourselves that we should know better, that we’re not good enough, interesting enough, important enough to take up people’s time with our stories, conundrums or worries. And we do that to others as well. This is one of the main reasons so many feel painfully lonely.
If someone opens up about something we try to come up with a solution, to fix whatever it is and we do just about anything to move on. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are not interested, that we don’t care or that we dismiss this person. It’s just the way we have learnt to handle ourselves to not be bothersome, tiresome, boring, a downer or to take up too much space and it has become our default.
When we ourselves try to tell a story, we feel insecure, we watch out for that glazed look, or someone impatiently drumming their fingers, rolling their eyes and our story, or issue, comes out fragmented and inconsequential, even though it might be something that is truly important to us.
Next time anyone close to you tries to tell you something, take the time, look them in the eye and ask them to tell you more, without trying to fix anything, come up with a solution or good advice or your own story and you’ll see them blossom, grow and be transformed right before your very eyes. At first you might feel as if you’re faking it, your mind will come up with a thousand reasons for not listening; “this is boring, I know what he/she is going to say, they should know better, he/she is so longwinded, I really don’t have time for this……” but it comes, as does everything, with a learning curve.
Not only will you learn from actually listening to other people, you will show that part of yourself who doesn’t feel heard, that it(you) have the right to be heard too. To receive someone like this is an act of love, not only towards them, but most importantly, to yourself.