Changing from a lifetime of bad listening habits to good ones wasn't an overnight process. I've always been someone that, until recent years, struggled with humility, found it hard to say I'm sorry if I did something wrong, found it hard to accept if I needed to change pace or direction.
Call it the product of having to defend myself aggressively for the better part of my life, maybe. But I was done with taking excuses, especially my own.
The world opens up to you if you listen to it. It sounds inauthentic, but I swear to you it’s true. When I say true listening, I mean more than just unclogging your ears and hearing. I mean really interpreting the information around you. This includes body language, which various schools of communication point to being worthy of around 90% or more of the messages we all convey.
The true beauty of existing in your newly opened, thoughtful world of listening, is the amount of vulnerability around you. Beauty does not exist without vulnerability. Even the most gorgeous flower is fated to die eventually, due to the carelessness of a crushing boot, or maybe a harsh frost. People are the same way; their appeal always in utter juxtaposition to their weaknesses.
When you listen, you find that vulnerability. The secrets and details and nooks and crannies of another person’s being is yours to treasure.
It was only when I listened that I paid attention to a particular curl in the lips and squint of the brow that my boyfriend makes when he is falling even deeper in love with me. It is only when I listened that I noticed that all nervous people quickly glance at where the nearest emergency exit is; their “tell” that they want to leave. It is only when I listened that I observed the certain glint someone has in their eyes when they are being sarcastic (something I have notoriously, and embarrassingly, been bad at noticing in the past).Listening has taught me to be in the moment. To appreciate my surroundings. To respect each and every glimmer of a feeling emanating from another person. To anticipate what another person's reaction might be, and prepare for that accordingly. To be as accommodating as possible. To be understanding of a rainbow of emotions, emotions that I used to not understand. I used to think that certain people are just not meant to get along with other people; clashing personalities inherently don't work out, or so I thought. Listening has proved that this is a fallacy.
Perhaps most importantly, listening has revealed the secrets of a flawless conversation with another human being, and what could be better than that?