I’ve been making a lot of discoveries recently, that have been both freeing and consuming. I’ve had conversations that result in solutions, and those that result in a moment of stillness, or a pause that leaves me wondering if there is a solution. But of course there is. There has to be. Even if it’s not the solution I might want, there is a solution.
So here’s the thing: I’m bad at listening.
Not the listening to you talk in a conversation kind of listening. I mean, I’m sure there are moments I completely zone out, yes, but I’m talking about a different kind of listening. I’m bad at listening to the Universe and letting go. I’m bad at listening to things that hurt and learning to absorb, digest, and resurface. I’m bad at listening to things that don’t make sense to me at first. After I have time to digest, I can be a great listener. But there will be times, I’m sure, when I’m going to hear something you have to say that hurts, and I’m not going to respond well. So I’m human. The end. No, not the end. That would be a boring post.
Listening can be hard. Some people have a strong faith and they listen to what God has to say. Some people listen to nature, and they spend time sitting in the elements and taking in the world. Some people have a great inner-moral-compass. That’s great! That is all so valuable. But what about listening to the signs in your life? Like the signs you ignore like “road work” signals. The ones you aren’t really sure pertain to you. How do we listen to those signs? How do we listen to the big neon signs that are screaming “STOP!” and not get detoured by our own selfish desires?
I read signs a lot like I read the ingredients list on my favorite ice cream: I either pretend I don’t see the things that are bad for me and complain later, or I freak out and still eat the ice cream. (LOL food references will always be a part of my writing life, sorry ’bout it.) There have been times when I’ve read a situation totally wrong, and walked away feeling broken or confused. There have also been times that I’ve had an intuitive feeling that I was wrong, but I pushed the thought further and further down, because I thought that might make it go away.
So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because I’m trying to stop pitying myself for the times I knew better. I’m writing this because there are far too many people I wish I could say I’m sorry to, to let them know that they aren’t the cause of the frustration they often see when I’m too busy selfishly thinking about my own desires. I’m writing this because my blogs have become a way of navigating inner-truths and to be honest, I’m more confident writing out my feelings than speaking them sometimes.
My professor, Bob Duke, teaches a class on Human Learning and Behavior. He says, “You can’t talk your way out of something. You have to do your way out of something.” He’s right. I can talk about wanting to make big changes in my life over and over again, but until I start taking action, I’m just talking about it. So I guess I’m mostly writing because the only way I know how to start holding myself accountable to doing better is to admit that I’m not listening lately. I’m letting my inner-anxiety control the way that I interact with others, and it’s just not fair to anyone else. At the end of the day, I am the only person that can change my mindset, and that will always be on me. I admit that I have succumbed to self-hate and self-pity on my bad days, and that’s something I’m not proud of.
So here’s to listening to the signs, my heart, and the wise words of those around me. Here’s to finding ways to finding healthier ways to work through problems, and to accepting the truth. Here’s to being curious, scared, and hopeful, all at the same time. Here’s to being twenty-one and completely vulnerable.