When Ted Kennedy passed away, I remember a Republican senator saying that when he once called Ted in the hospital, Ted immediately asked him how his sick grandson was doing. The senator said that Ted was always like that, asking how others were doing instead of talking about himself.
I wish I was more like that. Often times when I am talking to people, I am thinking of my experience and how it relates. Instead of being 100% there, I am in my own little world. In graduate school, my advisor would give me 100% of her attention. She was so attentive that I was distracted. I kept thinking "How does she do this?" She was a young mother of small children. And now that I have my own and I am so tired, I really admire that she was full time faculty, finishing her Ph.D., had children and cared what I had to say every week.
We all know bad listeners. The person that talk AT you not with you. The person that has to "one-up" you every time she talks to you. The person that talks too much and doesn't give others the chance to talk. The person that cuts you off mid-sentence. I do that to a good friend of mine every time we talk. I know I do it. I try not to. I am not sure why I do it to her more than to other friends. Maybe her stories are long. I don't know. I am working on keeping my mouth shut.
In Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth, he talks about being present with others. Be with them when they speak. Be in the moment. It is my new goal. I will ask more questions and be engaged. I will talk less. I will be present. It is definitely a skill that I was born without. But one skill that I must learn.
The Open Road
4 years ago