As Spring approaches, I am reminded of new beginnings, and fresh perspectives. One such perspective is that of truly listening to others, as opposed to just waiting for your turn to talk. When you approach an interaction with another person with the attitude that you need to be heard, you are likely to miss out on what they have to say. We have become so accustomed to this conversation style, that we feel awkward if the other person actually DOES listen to us. I was speaking with a lovely young woman at a coffee shop the other day, and she was telling me about her business. I listened carefully, and I noticed her starting to get flustered after a few sentences. She clearly was not used to being able to finish her thoughts, and that made her feel uncomfortable. I picked up the sentence thread that she had left hanging, simply because I didn't want her to feel weird. But it made me think: Have we really evolved into this society of people who are so closed to new ideas that we do not even want to HEAR each other?
I'm sure you know at least one person who takes this to the extreme. This person seems very knowledgable when they first start to talk, but it soon becomes obvious that they know enough for a two minute conversation, and that's it. If you try to discuss anything with them, it ends very quickly with them dismissing you and usually making you feel small and unimportant. In my experience, these people are the ones who never got any validation when they were young, and they grew up desperately seeking it, to the point where they can not tolerate anyone disagreeing with them, because it is too painful. The sad thing about these people is that they end up alone, and often very depressed and angry. There is no getting through to them, and so most people just stay away completely.
There is also the opposite personality, and this person doesn't have an opinion about anything. They flip back and forth between beliefs when the wind blows. They are so desperate to be liked that they are afraid to have personal beliefs or opinions. They tend to have a large social circle, because they are the chameleons of society. It's easy to like them, initially, because they agree with you, and seem to think you are the greatest, smartest person in the world. After a while, you begin to see that their loyalties are fleeting, and you want to create some distance, because ultimately, these people can't be trusted. They are so desperate to be liked that they adopt whatever opinion or belief is in front of them at the time.
These are the two extremes, but, of course, there is all sorts of middle ground. Finding balance is important, not only for your own good, but for others, as well. If you have kids, or ever plan to, you will be passing on your patterns to them, and it is vitally important that we groom the next generation to be confident and healthy in their patterns of communication. Giving children validation and security when they are little, is a big part of this process. If you are an adult who has a need for validation, which leads you into unhealthy situations, there are resources available to you, to heal this pattern.
Wishing you all a very "Hoppy" Spring, and sending love to those in need <3