I’d just like to express an idea, and maybe some of you will be able to relate, but listening is hard. Listening is like, really, REALLY hard. I honestly have a really terribly hard time with it.
I am not a natural listener. I am naturally inquisitive, and I love to ask a ton of questions and I love finding out new information a ton more. But parsing through what I’m listening to in order to glean that information is quite difficult for me.
It could be because I’m deaf in one ear, and I do think that has a lot to do with it. But I also think it has to do with the way my brain works. In that naturally I am one of those much maligned “waiting for their turn to talk” people. OMG the WORST people. I am one. Hi, hello.
Talking is easy! Talking COMES easy. It’s very easy to find something to talk about. It’s very, VERY easy to find something to say in response to something someone else says. Opinions! I love them!
Well, I love mine.
For a long time I told very, VERY long stories. I think they’re still pretty long but either way they are now shorter than they were before. Because I had to take a long, hard look at how I communicate and I saw I was kind of being a dick. And a really boring one. The most boring kind, someone who tells long stories that never, ever end and everyone listening wants to escape and they don’t know how to do it without seeming mean.
And I’m SORRY. I’m sorry I put some of you in that position, and I hope I’m doing better. It’s something I work on! But I also work on being an “active listener.”
I read about “active listening” once and I was like wow that sounds like a great thing that I am 100% NOT doing so I’m going to start trying it. And I did! And I have seen improvement in my listening skills, since I started working on them. But that doesn’t mean listening isn’t still hard.
BECAUSE LISTENING IS SO HARD.
You have to use your entire brain, YOUR ENTIRE BEING, to really give someone your full attention in the most respectful and appropriate way. And I’ll do it. Yes, I will do that for you. But I will be very tired at the end.
Recently I was out and about and suddenly I got very tired and couldn’t stand to be out among people for another second. I really just had to leave, I couldn’t take it anymore. And when I asked myself why I was so tired, I realized I was tired of listening. IT WAS EXHAUSTING. And I don’t think we should be expected to do it all the time. Or at least we should get some breaks from listening at that level. Because it’s a lot to deal with.
Now that I think about it, this is what happens every time I’m out and about. I will always end up reaching a saturation point where I can no longer listen to another word another person says. I need to leave. I need to leave FAST. Because listening is hard and I can’t do it anymore.
So the next time we’re hanging out and I all of a sudden have to go, it’s not you. Well actually in a way it IS you, but it’s my fault in that I no longer have the capacity to listen to what you’re saying. My ears are full, my head is full, and I need to go home and sit in blissful silence and stare into sweet nothingness to recharge. I’ll catch you next time.