I’m not sure if anyone has noticed but the world, yep, not only the US but the entire world seems divided right now. Never in my lifetime has the divide between different groups of people been wider.
Even in times of World Wars the divide was not as great as it is right now. Even during the World Wars people agreed on more things than they do today. Governments started those wars, not the people of the countries that were dragged into them.
But today is different. The universal language is one of hate. We throw the word hate around as if it almost has no real meaning. People claim to hate people who hate. “We” all hate all the hating going on these days.
We make slogans and signs about who and what matters. We talk about what must change and who must change. I’m struck by the number of people who “demand” immediate change yet refuse to look in the mirror to see if there is any change they could make personally.
Abraham Lincoln is famous for saying many things but one thing he said might be more applicable today than even the day he said it. When commenting on someone he was not particularly fond of he said, “I do not like that man. I need to get to know him better.”
Lincoln knew what too many people today seemingly have forgotten. That is that we human beings have far more in common than we give ourselves credit for. We can focus on the things that draw us together or we can focus on the things the push us apart. That’s a choice.
But that won’t happen until we do something else that seems to be a thing of the past.
That “thing” is called listening.
I mean real listening. Not reading someone’s social media posts. Not hearing some filtered version of what somebody thinks or what someone said someone said someone said. It’s a sad commentary on the world we live in but if you didn’t hear someone say it yourself then you might want to have some doubts about whether or not it was actually said.
Plus…don’t only listen to people who agree with you! Invite conversations with people who have vastly different views and life experiences than you. Do not think them wrong simply because their views are different than yours. Don’t talk to them, talk with them to determine where your views overlap. Build on that overlap!
I take great comfort from talking with people who share my views and beliefs. I like talking to my family and friends. But whatever growth I experience at this point in life comes from talking with people who frankly might not be my first choice to talk with.
You and I do not have to like the people who see the world differently than we do but we do need to understand how they view their life. We need to understand that if our life experiences were identical to theirs that our views would likely be identical too.
Most of all we need to get to know them better. The more we know about people the less chance there will be that we judge them. I want to say that again….the more you know about someone the less chance there is that you will judge them.
Listen more. Listen with your heart and your mind WIDE open. Listening is free but it just might be that it liberates you from hate. Listening is one of those things that while free it is also priceless!
Listening, really listening to different views could save you great pain. It could save your Country severe turmoil. Listening, truly truly listening to one another might even save the world.
7 thoughts on “Listening is Free”
Great reminder Steve. Much appreciated! We do seem to focus on our differences than on our similarities. Listening is key. Thanks!
Thank you Mike! I’m trying to listen more closely these days, especially to Him. Major life changes headed my way in the next couple of months…these are most certainly interesting times!
While I certainly agree with you here, this is odd coming from the same person that essentially ridiculed me here several weeks back now for disagreeing with you on the mask mandates, while providing scientific data to back up my words. Would suggest to reflect on your own advice in the comments section as well. Thanks.
Well certainly not my intent to ridicule anyone….but I have no problem ridiculing botched science. While anyone can find one or two articles to support any position I tend to follow the “weighted” opinions of the majority. I did two months ago and I do today. If there is one chance in a billion that by wearing a mask it could possibly save one life, then I’ll wear the mask, as much as I hate it. I’m just not important enough to even potentially out someone’s life at risk for my mere comfort. Thanks for listening. 🙂
Maybe is just we do not dedicate serious time to talk… With other and ourselves. I remember my granpa sitting in the evenings outside his drugstore, just to talk with anyone who walked along… Great post
I think you’re right about that…we really aren’t too busy to talk…or listen, it’s just not a priority anymore. And that’s very sad.