Fourth Week in August
There is enough happening in the world for us to hear quite a bit even if we choose to ignore a great deal. By and large we choose to listen to what affirms our beliefs about our world and ourselves. We often choose to skip over what we don’t like and we find it challenging to listen to things that contradict our beliefs. Those contradictory beliefs keep being voiced, though. Is there anything to learn there?
When confronted by contradictory information we tend to find someone with whom we can argue. Or, we attempt to get the facts but often just protect our beliefs, using the porousness of information to stabilize our stance. We talk or read until the problematic reality can be ignored again. We agree to disagree; we acknowledge and dismiss; we remain skeptical until we see or experience it for ourselves. Some of us listen to the reality.
When you truly listen to others–particularly when those others have historically claimed to be marginalized or ignored–you are taking a step towards human connection. You can begin to accept the stories that accompany the newly revealed reality. You can integrate others’ information into your worldview.
Everyone wants to be heard and many people feel as though their voices are not. When a person speaks, listen. When a people speaks, listen. You do not have to agree with their stories or accept their information, but listen nonetheless because they are sharing their view of reality. Listening will only help you understand humanity better.