Lessons from a Listener

I don’t really know you, but I like you. I can tell already that if we had a chance to meet and maybe have a conversation that I would probably get along with you fairly well. We may not be two peas in a pod and we probably won’t agree on everything but I know myself well enough to accept you for who you are.

Why would I say that? How can I possibly know that I would like you without knowing you or ever having met you? I’m psychic of course! No, not really, but I know that I genuinely enjoy interacting with a diverse group of people. It’s almost a hobby really. Maybe it’s something about my type (and maybe your type too) that makes it fun to connect with you and try to understand what makes you tick. Maybe you’re not used to people giving you this kind of attention, maybe you get attention all the time or maybe you’re just average and you think it’s a little strange of me but are willing to give me enough time to prove to you I’m not crazy. 

People are really quite fascinating to me. Someone, for instance, that may seem perfectly ordinary that doesn’t seem at first glance to be very interesting at all could in fact have a fantastic story to tell if only given the chance. What if your neighbor or your favorite barista that you see all the time were actually a budding artist, or perhaps a secret genius that works on complicated equations in their spare time? Or what if instead, their life wasn’t spectacular in the popular sense but throughout their lives they’ve succeeded in overcoming numerous obstacles that show a profound strength of character that was quietly hidden beneath their everyday exterior? 

The stories of the people we interact with every day are more than most people get the chance to share. Most people don’t write their biographies and most wouldn’t consider themselves anything special in the least but if you take a chance every once in a while to open yourself to truly knowing who someone is, a funny thing happens. Connections are made and stories are shared that enrich your understanding of another human being’s experience of life. Why is that valuable and why should you care? Think for a moment of all the lessons you’ve learned in life that someone taught you instead of you experiencing it for yourself. From the time we are born, those that care for us busy themselves with sharing what they know and what they’ve experienced to help you further your understanding, to help you live to the best of your ability. They may not always have been the best teachers and some of the best teachers may not have been related to you at all but the lessons showed you a brief window into what else is possible in life. 

Being fully alive and able to richly experience all that life has to offer you includes joy and suffering and many things in between, just think of how much your perspective on life could change by hearing of one person’s near death experience and how it affected them or one person’s struggle to support their family through hard times or even the simple bliss someone experienced in fully enjoying their child’s first experiences. You could learn more about yourself while this once upon a time stranger shares their memories with you and find that you yourself have more to offer than you once thought possible. Maybe you’ll develop a friendship with this new person or perhaps you’ll never cross paths again but my guess is that the connection will change you for the better if you let it and then maybe you too will say to a stranger, hey by the way, I like you.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michael G.
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 20:51:08

    I agree completely. People are so fascinating and have such interesting stories to share if we’re prepared to listen.

    Reply

    • alegnasevarg
      Dec 02, 2010 @ 20:54:15

      I lost track long ago of the number of truly valuable lessons I’ve learned from the people I’ve met in my lifetime. I’ve learned a lot about myself from these encounters as well as being intrigued to explore the new things I was introduced to. 🙂

      Reply

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