In the last year or so, I find myself coming back again and again to the same topic – listening. It seems like every time I read an article, take a course, listen to an audiobook or podcast, I find myself in the same old place, learning about how to listen properly.
I feel like the universe is saying: “I don’t care what you want to learn about or what skills you think you need – THIS is what you need.”
And to be fair, without self-monitoring and constant correction, I’m a pretty crappy listener.
Mostly, because I apparently like to talk.
So when someone opens up to me with a problem or situation, it’s my natural inclination to try and solve it, immediately, dolling out my own advice. Or maybe I’ll compare it to a situation I’ve been through.
My inspiration for writing this right now, is that I’ve just an hour ago replied in text to a friend describing her problem in this exact same way; dishing out the advice, rather than listening.
And as I see it there, in black and white, I know that this isn’t empathy. It’s sympathy. I’m not with my friend in her dilemma – I’m above her, preaching about how to get out of the mess she’s in.
I know that I mean well, okay. I’m not trying to beat myself up here. This comes from a good place – I genuinely want to help – I’m just becoming increasingly aware that this isn’t the way to go about it.
Since I know an increasing amount about listening, there’s quite a lot I could think about here. But I truly am a simple girl and I like simple rules.
So for now, I’m just going to attempt to: