There is a reason that we can’t shut our ears, but we can close our mouths. We aren’t meant to be constantly talking, but we should always be listening. We have to learn to listen or else no one is going to listen to us. We have to engage with each other. If we don’t, everyone is talking over one another, getting nothing done.
This is a challenge to listen, because I feel our generation has lost it somewhere beneath the selfies, Snapchat stories, and tweets. We make everything about ourselves and this comes across in our conversations. This isn’t helping us.
Rather being absorbed in our own thoughts separates us, makes us weak as a generation. Listening to one another creates a dialogue, which then creates a rapport. Creating this will strengthen our relationships and make us a stronger Gen-Y. A stronger Gen-Y means not being seen as the lazy generation, but as a generation that can get stuff done.
We all do this thing where we act like we’re listening to the other person, but really we’re just formulating our own response. We’re waiting for them to stop talking so we can give them our amazing comment that we worked really hard at coming up with. I do this more than I would care to admit. This takes away from the conversation being productive.
When you’re having a conversation with someone you’re expecting it to be a give and take. They talk, you listen, you talk, and they listen. If you aren’t actually listening though, you are missing the entire point of conversation. You are losing the goal of discussion: to be able to talk openly, to debate, to bring about new ideas to bounce around. If you already have a set goal in your mind before even having the conversation, it’s not fair to the other person.
This whole ‘having the end of a conversation in your head’ robs the other person of sharing their opinion. It takes away you even needing them there; it belittles them. And in turn, it makes you selfish. We can’t be stuck in our own heads constantly thinking we are right about everything. We can’t actually believe that we know all the answers.
Listening to one another builds each other up. I know one of the best feelings is when the person you’re talking to is actually listening, absorbing, and processing everything you’re saying. Especially if you’re having a meltdown or going through a difficult situation, the best solution is just letting it out and having someone there to listen. And sometimes that’s all someone needs. They don’t need someone to tell them what to do or try and fix anything, but they just need to be heard.
Listening, let’s you reflect. It allows you to process and figure out where you are. Not in a literal sense of physically where you are, but where you are in your life. Sitting back and taking a second to listen to what’s around you, even if it’s silence, it puts the present into perspective. Without being overwhelmed by people asking you what you want to do in the future or others bringing up your past, you can sit and realize where you are in the present.
We can all take a lesson from Beyoncé in Dreamgirls when she sang Listen. If we miss out on listening to one another, we miss out on sharing life with one another. Our generation gets the bad rep for being selfish or self-absorbed, but if we start listening more and stop talking so much maybe we can become more genuine, thoughtful, and productive people, instead of the fake listeners just waiting for our turn to speak.