If you were to ask any of my friends to all come up with one trait or one thing about me, they would all collectively say that I talk a lot.
Someone once said to me, "Sometimes it's better to say nothing than to say something that means nothing anyway." While I do enjoy talking a lot and think what everyone has to say is valuable, I think we've grown into a society that talks and does not listen.
In the United States, we value self more than the collective. Our intrinsic sense of self sets our culture apart from two-thirds of the world who believe family and the community are the most important parts of our culture. This idea that self comes before anything else means we do not necessarily value what others have to say.
For example, say you just had the best weekend of your life. You went to the beach or a concert, met a new guy or got to eat the best meal ever. Naturally, you want to be able to tell your best friends what happened.
However, consider this: What if your best friends also had the best weekend ever? What if they got engaged? Or they landed there dream job?
When we take a second to pause and reflect on the words of others we gain more knowledge. As I said, everyone has something valuable to say, which yes includes ourselves, but we need to make sure we give others a chance to speak as well. Conversation is a give and take not just a constant give.
However, sometimes this is easier said then done. As I said, sometimes we get excited and want to make everything about us. Sometimes it can be about us. Consider the fact that we learn the most when we listen to others, whether they are teachers, motivational speakers, or even friends. Find the balance for you and the people you are having conversations with.
Do not let this article discourage you from speaking your mind. By all means speak your mind and have your opinions heard, but do not forget to listen to others. You never know, they might be able to help you better form your opinions.
Someone once said, "There's so much that you can learn when you just listen." So go out there and learn.