We’ve all heard this saying before. The reason that we have two ears and one mouth is so that we can listen more than we talk.
Unfortunately, in this world where many have become self-obsessed or just plain busy, we seem to have forgotten the valuable art of listening. Instead, as you may have experienced personally, we go from party-to-party, coffee date-to-coffee date, and meeting-to-meeting feeling completely unheard and unseen. Many of us have discovered a shift in how people are communicating or should I say, not communicating. If you’re sensitive to people’s energy like I am, you may feel overwhelmed or drained by others doing too much talking and not enough listening.
In this world of social media frenzy and instant gratification, we don’t communicate the way we used to. In fact, making a personal phone call or having a face-to-face chat has become almost passé. People spend much more time texting, on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat then having an intimate conversation.
Because of this, people are feeling lonelier than ever before. A time has come when we must make important shifts towards getting back to basics. And to start, that means learning to listen. I mean, TRULY listen.
Being present isn’t always easy especially with so many distractions. These days we are bombarded by everything from our iPhones to shiny billboards so it’s no wonder people aren’t communicating. We have forgotten how. Spending time with somebody doesn’t mean what it used to. Instead it’s common to see two or three friends at dinner all on their cell phones with heads down to their screens.
I am writing this article as a reminder and to bring awareness. It is time for all of us to become more conscious. There is an epidemic of lack of focus, patience, and presence that has never been seen before. And it is only getting worse. But we can begin to make positive changes today.
Awareness is the key. Simply being aware that you aren’t aware is the first step. When we become conscious of a negative pattern that we keep repeating, we can then step up and change it. Once we recognize that something is no longer serving others, or us we can begin to reprogram our minds and our negative habits.
As difficult as it may be, we need to force ourselves to be present with others. We must make ourselves listen intently without distractions. When we have private time with friends or if we’re at a party and somebody is telling us a story, we owe them the honor of being heard. And vice versa when it’s our turn to speak. True listening doesn’t mean interrupting and going into a personal experience that is similar but instead it means standing firm, being quiet, and simply taking it all in. Often people don’t even want our opinion, they simply need somebody to listen. Their desire is to feel acknowledged and heard.
Just like anything that we aim to master, practice makes perfect. Once we become aware of where we need to improve, and we put it into practice, we then begin to work on shifting things for good. We practice not picking up our phone during a dinner with family or while your child is telling you about their day at school. We make it a point to schedule more time with our friends rather than simply texting or instant messaging on Facebook. We plan a walk or workout without bringing our cell phone.
It won’t be easy at first but as we change things up, it will become more and more of our natural way of being. We’ll begin to remember what it’s like to be present, living life the way’s it’s meant to be lived. We’ll begin enjoying the small pleasures of connecting with people around us in a deeper and more meaningful way.
We have two ears and one mouth, let’s use them accordingly.
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles.
He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL The 12-Week guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!