Four score and seven years ago… oh wait, not the Gettysburg Address… Traumatic memorization memories from middle school. Anyhoo, four years and seven hours ago (give or take, but for the sake of this post that’s what I’m going with) I signed up for a blog with WordPress. Huzzah! And the masses rejoiced!
Rejoice, dammit, you ungrateful bastards! Bask in the glory that is my writing! Behold its wonder in your… minds!
Just kidding. If you were doing what I was when I read that (eating the last of the Lebanese Potato Salad in the fridge for breakfast – I think it’s my new favorite potato salad), you probably just shrugged, gave a slight, upward movement of the corners of your mouth and thought, “How very interesting, please, tell me more.”
Though I know you were only being polite and you really don’t have time nor the inclination to keep sitting there politely listening to me ramble on about all manner of things, I’ll bring up a topic of conversation from last night between my massage therapist and myself.
So, there I was in my birthday suit, face-down on the massage table with the sheet over my lower half, when my normally very calm massage therapist who really doesn’t say a whole lot during the massage started talking. And talking a lot. And talking fast. It was a few seconds after they began where I thought, “Hmm, they are worked up… agitated even.” The kernel of the agitation was that their significant other did not trust them. They brought up how their significant other looked through their phone, their Facebook messages for their work and personal accounts and has accused them of “looking” among other things.
I know what you’re thinking, well, I’ll pretend that I know what you’re thinking: “Sarah, what did you do? What did you say?”
And there’s the hitch in that get-up – they weren’t asking for my advice, only for me to listen. I kept my big yap shut and let them do what they needed to do, after all, if I was someone with whom they felt comfortable enough to divulge their relationship issues, the least I could do was listen to what they had to say even though every fiber of my being wanted to shout my thoughts on trust issues and insecurity. But, they are an adult, and it’s their life, and like I said – I was picked to listen.
So, when finally the riptide of venting had ended, and things got back to their usual quiet, they asked me what I thought.
I asked, “Are you happy?”
There was a moment of quiet, thoughtfulness that even though my eyes were closed it was palpable, they said, “Yeah, and I know a lot of this is due to other stuff going on, and the stress we are under because of…” And they continued to talk about all the reasons they were both stressed and what was going on and how it would all work out some way. I continued to listen and at another long pause I stated, “Never give up your happiness for someone else.” The words hung there for a moment and they quietly said, “I know.”
So folks, what this all comes down to is that I forced myself to be quiet and listen to hear this person, who I consider to be someone with whom I’m in the early stages of friendship, and not listen to respond to them. Sure, I could have commented on their relationship about which they were venting, but we all vent from time to time – often it’s just so we can hear ourselves work things out aloud and not just in our heads. Sometimes we do it for validation from someone else of our feelings, sometimes we want advice and we ask for it.
As much as I wanted to give my knee-jerk response at every moment I formed my thoughts – it wasn’t my place, nor was it the time, to offer up unwanted ideas about how they should be doing this or that. The skill of listening is something that more and more people seem to missing. And, in this case, when I truly listened to what they were saying what it came down to is asking if they were happy.
So, on this Fourth Anniversary of the Blog and Fancy Coffee Friday, go forth and truly take time to listen to hear people, not to respond.
And, if you’re sending gifts for the anniversary…
Traditional: Fruits & Flowers
Modern: Linen, Silk or Nylon
I’m in the market for a few fruit trees, don’t really need any linens, but I could really use one of those commercial kitchen-sized food processors or a Vitamix (or BlendTec) blender. Just sayin’.
Oh… you’d need my address…. I KNEW there was something I was forgetting!