We all have things that we get excited about and that we want to share with others but few of us stop to think if the other person really wants to hear the message we have to offer. I am totally 100% guilty of this! I have the gift of gab. I have never been a great listener and I still struggle to be a good listener but I am learning from what I don’t like.
Have you ever had someone tell you what you “should” do something or they just tell you what they think you need to do? I think we all have and we find it frustrating. No one has walked in our shoes or knows how we are feeling so how can they tell us what we “should” do. I also want to point out that we all can become blind to what is going on right in front of our faces and sometimes we need others to point it out but there is a fine line and it’s all about….. perspective!
Let me give you a few examples of times that I felt uneasy and not prepared to receive a message. My mom loved and cared deeply about Adam and I. Many time when we were over there she would hand us a stack of paper about natural approaches to MS for Adam. I have to admit I rarely read them because a) I wasn’t interested b) it felt like someone telling me what I needed to do. I’m sure her heart was in the right place and now I wish I would have listened sooner but I wasn’t ready to hear the message.
Have you ever had a bad day? Like one where you wake up late and then you realize that you had an appointment you forgot about so you rush out of the house. Then you don’t have anything to feed the kids for lunch. You can’t seem to get school work done and every one keeps fighting. Not to mention the phone keeps ringing with people you need to talk to and when you make it to dinner you realize you forgot to defrost the meat and then your husband comes home late? Really by the end you’ve had it and you go to share your crap day with a friend and then instead of listening they try to tell you how you could fix it all? Like… maybe if you set your alarm then you wouldn’t be late and if you did your grocery shopping always on the same day and wrote out a list of items as you ran out then you would have food in the house at all times. If you didn’t answer your phone while “school” was going on then you would be able to focus, etc, etc. You get the point and really at that point you just want to scream and strangle them!
I think we have all been on the giving and receiving end of things like this and really our intention is not to hurt the person’s feelings but rather to help. BUT what if we changed our approach. What if instead of opening our mouths we just listened. What if we asked questions and good ones, not leading ones or ones with the intent to get our point across but ones that truly helped us understand their situation and their heart. How different would the world be?
Luckily, I have some of the most amazing friends in the world. I truly suck at what I’m writing about so how do I even know what is good? Well, because I have friends that are awesome listeners and have simply listened and just said that stinks or have asked how they could help or maybe didn’t even ask but just did something instead. Sometimes our hearts are to help and fix but helping and fixing may not be what the other person wants and needs. What if we thought solely about them and what would be best of them? It may change our entire perspective and attitude!