Promoting active listening to a world that doesn’t hear me.
I often find myself drifting in and out of conversations. Sometimes I’m probing my mind for how I should respond. Other times, I find myself getting sidetracked and totally immersed in my own head. Occasionally, I will catch myself in one of these drifts. I will acknowledge that my hearing has shifted, I’m no longer listening to the person speaking but I have a conversation internally. I try to correct myself when my mind wanders off, but I have let this happen far to often. I don’t really know if that makes me a bad listener. I’m trying to be a better listener all together, but conversations tend to be fickle.
I read about active listening. Genuinely focusing on a conversation and quieting down that part of your brain that pulls your attention away. I’ve always been open to holistic remedies for social problems. Meditation for better sleep and to relieve anxiety, deep breathing in stressful situations, and now, active listening. One of my goals for the next year is to improve the ways that I interact with people. I want to engage in conversations that are an equal exchange of information.
Speaking is never the issue for me. When a thought manifests in my head, it quickly travels down to my mouth where I have learned to hold it in my chest as if I were walking through a foul-smelling bathroom. I repeat the thought ceremoniously, breaking it down into chunks, shifting it around, rearranging it until they turn into something new. I wonder if everyone else does the same thing.
Conversations encourage these thoughts to flourish. I get so caught up toying with them, that I lose track of where the conversation was going. Sometimes I veer far from the beaten path into some strange directions. Other times, I can hold it together and offer some focused and relatable feedback. Identifying when you are being a bad listener is probably the best way to correct it. I must be mindful of my thoughts, not letting them pull me away from someone else’s. That tug-o-war doesn’t always need to happen. Sometimes, I should just drop the rope.
Being a mindful, active listener is something that takes practice. I often reflect on interactions that I just wasn’t committed to and find myself feeling guilty. There’s no purpose to punish myself for failing at this, simply recognizing where I can improve will help me accomplish my goal. Perhaps this blog will give me a place to spill my internal thoughts, so that they stop interrupting my conversations. A repository for those thoughts that I held in my chest like I was walking into a shitty restroom. I guess we’ll see.
Nobody- Signing off.