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Sunday, March 10, 2013

I'm Willing to Listen ...

March 11, 2013:  A little-known poet named Ronald Walter Ludley had a little-known poetry book called "Why Don't You Listen?" It's a question I've been asking the people in my life for many years now ...

It's such a simple thing, and yet it's remarkable how poorly we all listen. (I don't really mean me, but I'm just generalizing here to make everyone feel good; in fact, I consider myself a rather good listener, owing to both my journalistic skills and my consummate acting ability.)

We just want to be heard -- all of us -- but heard in a certain way. A friend of mine pointed out tonight how the so-called social media forums fluorescently highlight how hungry humanity is to be heard. People grow more and more desperate to be heard with each passing day, and yet they become poorer and poorer listeners ... Isn't that funny? ... No, I guess not ...

I can only speak for myself, but I suffer on an ongoing basis from people's poor listening skills. This is a large reason why I became a writer, I think. I feel a deep need to be heard. And while it would be wonderful to spare myself all this trouble of typing out lengthy (and pithy) rants about what ails us on my Blah-ugh! forum, it's really one of the few satisfying means I have at my disposal to get that sensational sense of being really, truly heard.

Now, what does that mean? Well, really it means being able to share one's thoughts without feedback. I need to be able to share without having my comments appraised or -- much worse and annoying -- getting back those feeble attempts to fix me, to solve my problems.

Isn't it interesting how many people listen with half an ear, just waiting to tell you what's wrong and how you can fix it. They're not really listening. In fact, they're probably uncomfortable listening, which takes a degree of patience and consciousness that many people don't have. It's important -- as a listener -- to understand that most of us don't really want to be fixed. I know I don't. I just want to feel like I was heard, even if I wasn't. (Thus again, a great listener can merely be a gifted actor; what the hell does it really matter to me in the end anyway, as long as I feel listened to?!) Few frustrations are as bad as those horrifyingly well-meaning individuals who can't let you get five sentences out before they chime in with their eager advice. I've also noticed many people who have a ridiculous gift of being able to steer your shared thoughts into their own experiences, and within moments of your attempting to open up, they smoothly manage to usurp the conversation and contain it for the next nauseous 20 minutes within their own thoughtless history.

But let's not make this about me. I'm fine. I have a Blah-ugh! to voice my stupid opinions and observations. (And of course I'm being falsely humiliating, as you know, because I obviously consider my stupid opinions and observations light-years more amusing and valuable than anyone else's.)

No, I want to offer others my service in feeling that they've actually, authentically been heard. No joke. If you're struggling with this very issue, and don't know where to go to get the base satisfaction of feeling listened to, send me an email and we'll arrange a time for me to listen to you. I want you to feel you're worth that, and while I can't promise I won't be rolling my eyes or stifling laughter, I'll give my best effort to be the kind of listener that I value in my life.

If no one else is willing to listen -- and listen well -- I'll certainly be glad to ...

1 comment:

  1. did you know i have attached ear lobes? it's a genetic anomaly.

    and i have a broken ear drum in my left ear, it's full of scar tissue now, so my hearing is terrible from a distance - if you talk to me from across the room the words jumble up and float away.

    and i have tinnitus . . . they say Beethoven had tinnitus which became so severe that he went deaf, oh the horrible irony.