Have you ever over analyzed a situation? You don’t have to lie, you’ll be the only one who knows. (I’ll admit to at least 5,034 different occasions if it makes you feel better).
There have been times in nearly all of our lives that we simply thought way too much about how to interact with a certain individual and wind up in default mode; the exact mode or behavior you were trying to avoid. Maybe you should have zigged when you needed to zag. That little misstep leads directly into an escalation of voices, maybe a little bit of the blame game, and ultimately some flared tempers that lead to exactly zero progress – it’s commonly referred to as an argument. You may be thinking of a specific occasion at this point… good. Hold on to that thought.
Sunday was Mother’s Day. It’s little surprise to anyone who knows me well enough that my mother and I haven’t gotten along very well since my teenage years. For the longest time I forced myself to believe that “we’re just too different, we’ll never get along.” It was easy, removed responsibility from myself, and gave me an excuse to dismiss working on one of the most important relationships in my life. What it didn’t do was offer any solution to the problem: my inability to build a meaningful relationship with the one woman on this planet who is responsible for giving birth to me.
It hit me about 9:35 pm last night. I had gone insane.
Have you heard the phrase “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?” I had fallen into a perpetual cycle that merely led me back to the beginning with nothing more than an astonished sense of bewilderment. What could I possibly be doing wrong? I’ve had my head buried in self improvement books, seeking advice from friends and nothing seems to be working.
Sometimes, Just Tell Your Brain to Shut Up and Listen
It is the simplest yet most important piece of advice when it comes to human interaction. Those who prefer to talk will not find much solace in Dale Carnegie’s observations: “they have been so much concerned with what they are going to say next that they do not keep their ears open… very important people have told me that they prefer good listeners to good talkers, but the ability to listen seems rarer than almost any other good trait.”
Think about it for just a second.
Have you ever been so eager to speak, to convey your thoughts or prove your point that you shut down the part of your brain that listens attentively? My guess is yes. We all have. So my mothers day gift, that will hopefully last for the rest of my life, may not seem like much at first glance, but it’s something I vow to continually improve upon.
Just listen to my mom.
Listening leads to understanding and understanding leads to growth. I’m done over-analyzing and contemplating what my next move is. I know it now. Our perspectives of life may never coincide, but that doesn’t mean we can’t communicate. My mother is a caring, loving individual that seeks what we are all after: appreciation. She has done nothing but support me my entire life, be it on some financial level or simply during times of my sporadic adventures. She’s cheered me on during sporting events, and made personal sacrifices to see that I was raised with a solid core of values. She may not have understood my reasons for it all, but as long as I was happy, she felt proud. For that, I thank her.
So, remember the importance of listening. It is a rare yet very powerful skill that is difficult to acquire and too often undervalued. See what happens next time you stop analyzing and start listening.