Imagine sitting down and listening to an old man’s tears for thirty minutes. And all you asked was, “how do you feel?”.
It’s not completely far fetched, and even though it seems to me like a scene taken from a novel, it could be happening somewhere at the corner of my street. And at the corner of my mind is where the question remains: How often to I stop to listen to people’s feelings?
Not the, “Oh, I’m fine, thanks for asking” or the “Ugh you know… life and stuff” type of answers that are rich in diplomacy and lack in honesty. Preferred are those, since they leave me with a faux sense of humanity for having spent three minutes of my existence “listening”, while in reality I was busy pondering on my next question.
So I must plead guilty. Guilty because when I ask about how one feels, I do it out of habit. I’m being polite, but I’m not really interested in giving you the time to tell me about your feelings.
Guilty is the receptor of the question too. For that same person has possibly lost faith in answering honestly.
Possessed by cynicism – that penetrates our hearts too soon these days – this person has realised that sharing feelings with someone else is close to useless.
Now that the guilt has been distributed, how do we arrive at the solution?
In order to talk openly, one must learn to listen attentively first.
I remember being taught that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. So a good look in the mirror should be enough of a reminder that we must be willing to listen!
After having learnt to truly listen to what someone is saying, and keep in mind, one doesn’t need to talk in order to say something, then we can begin to, also, share our feelings.
I’ve always been one of carrying a “what’s on your mind?” at the tip of the tongue. I’ve always thought that the best way to get to know someone was to know what they think and why they tought so. I thought wrong. It never felt right.
Since the new year is keen on arriving, and with it the urge to make promises, why not invest in sitting down and listening to people’s feelings for thirty minutes?
Something worth a neuron or two…
“Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina