Over the past couple weeks, I have been involved in a handful of conversational altercations, some that were shallow and mildly unpleasant, some that really made me go inward to sort out resolution. While the topic of conversation isn’t pertinent to the message I hope to share with you this week, I have noticed that in all of these difficult moments, there was a common thread, a common issue, that led to the perpetuation of the conflict.
In all of these circumstances, I was quick to respond, to react, to jab back, without really taking a pause to listen, digest, contemplate, and communicate in a mindful and meaningful manner. This, of course, led to things being said that maybe weren’t the kindest, or the most thoughtful, or that didn’t even really articulate my feelings at all.
Usually in these moments we are so quick to respond because something triggers us inside and makes us feel that we won’t get our chance to speak our side or have the opportunity to be heard.
And so, these knee-jerk reactions and responses lead to moments of difficulty and suffering, because we are reacting, and not listening.
Skillful conversations with loved ones and strangers alike require practice, patience, and poise.
Take a moment to think about a circumstance in your life, where you have you been in communication with someone, and even though you seem to be present, all you can hear is your mind chomping at the bit to get your own next word in, leading you to not fully get the other person’s message.
Or, more common in this era, have you read something on the internet and instinctually commented back so quickly without giving pause to how you would really like to respond? Possibly inflating a situation that really didn’t need to be inflammed?
Tensions are high these days, we all can feel it can’t we? Our inability to converse gracefully with presence and purpose is only adding to the friction.
In my heart of hearts, I feel that one of the biggest instigators of anger, distress, frustration and even depression is because people don’t feel like they are truly heard. And subsequently, we engage in so many dysfunctional communications because we are not creating that space for people to feel heard. We simply aren’t listening.
It’s time that we create the space to listen to others and even to ourselves. Listening provides us with so much data and information so that we can live our lives in love, peace, power, and understanding.
I’d love for you to join me in committing to listen, before acting, and noticing whatever shifts come your way as a result.
When we listen, we create space, we take pause, and we can find a sense of clarity and peace in the moment that allows us to really know the proper next step, word, or action.
When we listen, we make ourselves available to other people’s truths.
When we listen, we open ourselves up to learn about other people’s experiences and perspectives.
When we listen, we learn and grow.
When we listen, we are more apt for understanding and compassion rather than indifference and exclusion.
When we listen, we hear the whisperings of what the soul is trying to tell us.
When we listen, we set a standard so that in turn we will also be listened to.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on mindfully listening. Let’s practice listening to one another in the comments!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org