Listen Just a Minute, Would You?
We don’t know what other people go through. Even if we did know, we might not get it. The worst thing that’s ever happened might not look so bad if we’ve been through worse. We might even think it would be helpful to say so. But it is still the worst thing that person has ever known. It’s the 10 on her scale. Maybe it’s only an 7 on mine. She won’t be comforted by hearing “Oh, it could be worse. In fact. let’s talk about how bad it was for me.” Just stop it.
It’s difficult to listen and truly hear what comes from another heart and soul. Our trials are not their trials. Neither are our joys theirs. I began reading this blog post. She is an artist and tried to paint what she was feeling. She was on the bottom of a pool looking up. I thought, “Mmm, how lovely.” That very scene is one of the few places here, in my day to day life, where I feel at home, at peace, comfortable. I love the familiarity, the silence, the soft focus of everything above.
This is not her experience. In fact, she was trying to express very much the other thing* She goes on to describe what it was like for her on the bottom of that emotional pool. Without that, I would have completely missed her anguish and pain. Don’t take understanding for granted, people. Even when you’ve given a little or seen a part, you can miss the connection cleanly.
We all do it, communicate in shorthand because who has time for full thoughts? He knows what I mean. Her situation is obvious. Yeah, yeah, I’ve felt the same way. I think we’re missing out on each other. Take time to hear before you file it. There may be something important there, after the 1st bit you noticed, when you were composing your reply. Don’t be quite so quick to slap a label on it.
Let’s make a deal: you finish your thought and I will listen until I get it, until I get you.
*I’m compelled to explain this expression: the tag on a hairdryer I once owned warned “Not to be used for the other purpose.” Full stop. No clarification as to what the other purpose of a hairdryer might be. Now, when I’m feeling binary, life comes down to what I have or expect and the other thing. Italy frequently gives me the other thing, which in this case could be translated as “the finger,” but that’s not really what I mean.