What I’ve Learned From: Listening

About a week or so ago, I took to instagram stories (@tkhoub & @teeksandeats) to ask what content you wanted to see. One of the polls was the ‘personal posts vs keep it professional’. About 89% of you voted for ‘let’s get personal’. First off, it is very easy for me to talk about my personal life to the people in my circle but being vulnerable online is scary. As a content creator, I want to create content that you enjoy but also reflects who I am. So here we go..

Isn’t it ironic that I have a blog called “Is Anyone Really Listening?” and even I have a hard time taking the time to slow down, open my heart, and listen to ones around me.

Something as simple as listening is something I struggle with. I have so much to say and frankly, I love talking about myself. If you know me, you know how frustrating it can be but my intentions are always in the right place. I notice myself not listening when someone comes to me with a problem and my instinct is to give them a solution.

My amazing friends have been very patient with me as I work to stop, listen, and not provide feedback. When I need someone to listen, I go the extra step of letting the people around me know “hey, I need to vent” or “hey, I’m going to go on a tangent and I just need someone to hear me”. Saying that gives the expectation to that other person to not offer immediate responses.

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Sometimes genuinely saying “I hear you and I understand you” makes a WORLD of a difference. Don’t say that if you don’t mean it. If you don’t understand do what you can to have that other person explain to you. Ask questions if you REALLY need to say something.

If you know me or have interacted with me you know that I have a pretty strong personality. It can come off as intimidating and sometimes even aggressive. Right now, I am finding a balance that works for me and makes others feel more comfortable without reducing myself to being quiet. What I’ve started to do that has shown a lot of success. I ask a sh*t ton of questions. Not to a point where the person feels like they feel interviewed but enough where I can get information or insight to the other person. I have learned so much from this. Some people aren’t as comfortable talking about themselves. Most of the people around me are more introverted and I love that because they are more methodical, intentional, and reserved when they speak. I try to emulate that in some ways and in situations where there are a lot of stronger personalities I tend to be the one to retract.

Having a strong personality is not a bad thing. It becomes an issue when the people around you begin to not feel heard, understood, or comfortable when they speak to you. I want every person I meet to feel comfortable and empowered to speak what is on their mind. I never want someone to think that I don’t care about what they have to say or that I’m in anyway judging them. I take it personally when people close to me don’t feel empowered so I am actively working to improve this.

All in all, there is a time and a place. Take a step back and ask yourself “Am I really listening?”. If not, ask questions, be intentional, or ask that person what they need to feel heard.

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