In my argumentation class we have been dissecting what it means to listen. We find that we only hear what we want to hear and shut everything else out, making it difficult to be open to new ideas or even gain new information. It is politeness. I began thinking about how well I listen and I instantly came to the conclusion that I need some work, I’m aware.
I’ve learned there are times when everyone can be a narcissistic listener. Only hearing things that apply to you or just not caring enough to hear what someone else is telling you but waiting to be able to talk about yourself again, it happens. I am guilty of this. For most people unfortunately, it is unintentional. There are times that we just zone out while others are talking and insert the occasional head nod, there are other times where we don’t listen at all. I recognize and feel bad after I realize it. Depending on who I’m with, I come out and say “I’m sorry, I was not listening at all can you repeat that?” But where is the cut off line? Who can we admit that to and who do we have to hide it from?
I, like most people, find talking about myself to be easy. (Who knows you better than you?) This is a narcissistic thing to say, but it is what we think to be a smaller form of conversation. Going back and forth talking about ourselves. Of course it’s okay to do so. But I have never thought about how much we actually communicate like that. Have you ever thought to stop and actually take in everything someone is saying? Ask them more about it. Can you imagine what could possibly be learned from fully listening to what others had to say all the time?
From this one fifty minute class I had this week, I have already been challenging myself to focus more on others. I want to focus on really listening to someone instead of just hearing them. Take in everything people are saying (whether you agree or not). I have learned the most from teaching children and being around people who are older than me. Not only can you think about the innocence and expand your mind from children, but you can get some great advice from those older than you.