The older I get the more I realise – people just want to be heard. It’s wired into us. Our first act is to scream for attention. When in pain we cry out. We know that our only chance of survival is to be heard, to be noticed. When we fall off a bike and scrape a knee we cry for help. When we fall out of a relationship, we scrape somewhere inside and cry out – often in very bad poetry.
Blog posts, prayers, that old guy at the cafe, we just want to be heard. It’s the simplest lesson but one it is easy to forget. A lot of the time people just want to heard, to be noticed, to be paid attention to. People matter.
Listen to others.
Just standing there – a little crinkly shoreline as sound waves crash upon you – can be a noble, noble thing.
Ex-communication and shunning are powerful human gestures but we have folded them into our daily interactions where the technological impulse to touch is giving way to a desire for continuous contactless, frictionless, interaction. Shunning is an effective tribal tool for maintaining social order but we now shun each other and even ourselves all the time. We digitise our relationships to monitor them, we digitise our bodily functions to track them, we digitise strange amorphous feelings that come out as blog posts…
My professional, personal and spiritual life experience has demonstrated over and over again the benefits of listening. Listen to that person’s hangups and frustrations – open yourself up to shuffling a mile in their Uggs. People that feel like they’ve been heard are so much easier to work with.
Thanks for listening.