There is nothing more frustrating in this world than feeling like you are not being heard, and that no one is listening to you or getting you, it can leave you feeling unbelievably downbeat and alienated. In fact, such a feeling is the path to a very negative and lonely existence, I know it because in my youth I used to feel this way a lot.
But as the saying goes, you must treat people how you wish to be treated, meaning that the best way to be heard is to hear others, or rather the best way to be heard, is to listen.
Of course, an easy rebuttal to this would be why should I when they don’t show any interest in me, when they don’t listen to me, which is what I used to feel, the answer is because you want them to show an interest in you, to hear you.
Maybe you wish them to change their views, maybe you wish them to accept or understand your views, maybe you just need some support or just want them to understand you (this one was me). Whatever it is, it is so easy to become so lost in our own problems, to get so lost in our own agenda, that we forget that other people have problems of their own and agendas of their own, and if people have problems and agendas of their own why would they want to help us with ours?
The answer most of the time is because we wish to help them deal with theirs.
Togetherness and unity equals positivity, and listening to each other is and will always be one of the greatest ways we can show togetherness and unity, because listening to each other is and will always be one of the greatest gifts we can bestow upon each other.
It’s a way of saying yes, I have my problems, but so do you have yours, and maybe if we work together and listen to each other, truly hear each other, we can solve them both.
And any person we give a sympathetic non-judgemental ear to will always be thankful for it, so thankful that there is a high probability that they will do the same in return for us. And if they don’t, guess what, we stop listening to them and more often than not find somebody else to listen to. This is the power of listening and the cost of not listening.
A book I read a while back that changed my life was Dale Carnegie’s legendary text, How to Win Friends and Influence People — if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it (warning, affiliate link coming up, but if you wish to buy the book you can find it here: How to Win Friends and Influence People). Anyhow, amongst the treasure trove of mind-blowing advice, he talks about the importance of listening to people, writing the following:
Many people fail to make a favourable impression because they don’t listen attentively, they have been so concerned with what they are going to say next that they do not keep their ears open.
But closing our ears even if unintentionally is plain and simple the path to nobody listening to you. We tend to get what we give. Listen and be listened to, don’t listen and don’t be listened to. And this does not mean that you should just listen to a person and expect them to listen to you in return, listening is very different to hearing.
Genuineness always trumps none genuineness — which is something else which Dale Carnegie highlights throughout his book I should add, highlighting that if you can’t be genuine you’re wasting your time. To truly be heard, you must truly be willing to hear people and truly want to hear people because you understand that hearing people is the path to the world you want to live in, a world where everyone has heard.
And that doesn’t mean challenging everything that they say that you disagree with while they are trying to say, it means hearing them with an open non-antagonistic, and sympathetic mind. No matter what they say, just keep listening and let them have their say.
Give them a chance to show you who they are, give them a chance to be who they are. If you disagree with things they say, wait until they finish and then when you speak let them know why. But first listen to them. Give them what you want, a sympathetic ear who lets you be heard. Do that, and odds are they will do the same in return.
And if they don’t, stop listening to them and start listening to somebody else. That’s what I started doing, it may seem cold to think in such a way but in my youth, I used to always try to listen to everybody, even though there were those who did not listen to me in return, and the result was not a good one. I ended up with a large number of one-sided friendships and relationships, which are not healthy.
After making the conscious decision to keep only those who genuinely listened to me in my life, the change was immense. My happiness massively increased, and I found myself in a world where I was always heard and where the people around me were always heard. Because I was in a world where we all listened to each other because we genuinely wanted to, we want each other to be heard, we want each other to be okay, we want the best for each other and that’s why we listen to each other.
Listening to people, being capable of truly hearing them, is the ultimate superpower because it is the path to being truly heard. And a person who is heard has the power to change not only their own lives for the better, but the lives of others.
Even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener — a listener who will be silent while the irate fault finder dilates like a cobra and spews the poison out of his system.— Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
So if you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel like you are not being heard, first ask yourself the question, are you listening to others, truly listening, and I mean truly listening. If the answer is no, you know what you must do. If the answer is yes, then you also know what you must do, start listening to different people and keep doing that until you are finally heard. Doing so worked for me, if you feel like you’re not being heard, maybe it can for you too.
That’s all from me for today, stay safe!
This is part of the Life Philosophy series I am writing, a series in which I imagine what lessons I would tell my younger self if I had the chance. To see more from the series see this link: Life Philosophies series