A Group of People

Plugging In, Tuning Out

In life on March 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

By Collin Peterson

“To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.” – Stravinsky (Russian Composer)

There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth.  Unfortunately the popular “M-O” (mode of operating) is that we like to be heard and not spoken to.  Below are a few things patients said tonight:

“To have someone to vent to is worth more than cash.”

“…I accept what’s happened…I’M GOING TO BE OKAY.”

“The doctors didn’t think I would be here at this time last week.  The fact that I’m here is a miracle.”

Do you remember when your household went from the corded phone to the cordless phone?  Or how about the first time you didn’t have to get up to change the channel because you had a brand new TV remote control?  Of course now we have mobile phones that can change the channels on our TV’s but the point is that these transitions forced a new mindset.  Just as it is like driving a manual transmission and then trying to drive an automatic, it takes our brains a minute to get used to the new procedure.  The good news of course is that the more we do something the more likely it is to become second nature.

Being an empathic listener can take some practice but the value we receive from being listened to can be just what the doctor prescribed for someone else.  When we feel listened to (not just simply heard) we feel that our opinions matter, our story is validated, and “not alone” in our experiences.  It is a great feeling but sadly it is not a common feeling.  Instead, we are conditioned to think we can handle anything ourselves.  We tune out and turn to TV’s, the internet or other solitary activities only to be left with a sense of longing for something that isn’t there.  Moreover this kind of self-soothing does not deepen our relationships with others or ease our insecurities or fears in times of need.

While there may be some necessary struggles to go through to strengthen our wings, other burdens simply hold us down preventing us from flying.  What “other burdens” are you carrying?  Do you have to carry them alone?  When was the last time you plugged in and truly listened to someone without any distractions?  Let’s make a point to use our listening abilities in proportion to the number of ears we have.

“We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.” – Marianne Williamson

Mark 4:9
Proverbs 18:15 (The Message MSG)


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