Friday, June 25, 2010

The Art of Listening

I was reading the
article today from the
. He's been posting his "techniques' and tips. Today, he was talking about taking a breath (an old fashioned zen technique) to stop impulses. A good article, but one part in the middle, which had nothing to do with weight loss, but everything to do with how we live, really made an impression on me. Here's the quote from his article:

"Most people, myself included, have a habit of trying to make conversations about themselves. If someone is talking about Florida, instead of listening and reacting to what that person is telling you, you're just waiting for them to stop talking so you can jump in and say, "You know what I did when I was in Florida?"
Restraining this impulse allows you to truly listen to someone and respond more sensitively and genuinely, which they'll appreciate it. And knowing you had the discipline to restrain the impulse to make the conversation about you can make you feel ever-so-subtly proud of yourself, as it should."

I know how irritated I get when someone always seems to try to turn the conversation to themselves. But in honestly thinking about it, I have to admit to being guilty at times of doing exactly that.

This made me realize that if I'm telling a story, or especially, if I'm having a difficult time with something, I am asking for your help, or sympathy, or empathy, or motivation, or something from you. I am not looking to be outdone in my story or problem. It's not going to help me to know that your story or problem is "bigger or better" than mine. Why do we always seem to live life as a competition? It seems we are always comparing our homes, our kids, our pets, our craft projects. Often our comparisons are invalid. The friend who lives in a really nice house and has lots of money isn't necessarily any happier than you are. We should be just doing our best and trying to find happiness in our accomplishments, without trying to "top" someone else.

Life is not really a competition for me. I want to be my best, and I want you to be your best, and those are probably not equal accomplishments, but so what?

Anyway...thank you Slowest Loser. I will try to use my "zen" whether it be your breathing technique, or just a better awareness, and truly LISTEN when someone is talking to me. They deserve that.