"We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are."
-- Anais Nin
There is a light snow falling this afternoon as I sit in quiet contemplation of the year past and the year ahead of us. It has never been my custom to make New Year's resolutions, but this year I have decided to make one resolution. I have decided to be certain to really listen to people -- to listen to the meaning behind their words, to give them time to finish their sentences before I interject my own response, and, most importantly, to listen to their opinions and beliefs with an open mind and a desire to increase my own understanding of the issues that face our society today.
I think one of the biggest problems we face is the fact that we don't really listen. We have our own strong opinions and when someone's beliefs differ from ours, we automatically shift into defense mode -- trying, in our own minds, to validate our opinions, and often arguing these opinions before we have even listened to their side of the conversation. This is glaringly obvious on social media today. A friend posts something that they believe to be true; then a friend who disagrees quickly posts a nasty comment, and soon there is a string of comments with each person vehemently defending his own beliefs; very seldom does anything remotely constructive result from these interactions, and often hard feelings linger between friends.
We all see things differently, depending on our personal experiences throughout our lives. The serious issues facing our nation and our world today require people who listen to each other. There is a middle ground to be found, if people will just take the time to consider all of the facets of an issue, and sort through them with a willingness to understand and compromise for the common good.
Obviously, I cannot change the world with my one individual resolution. The people who hold the power must be the ones who learn to listen and compromise, and to put aside their personal pride and political agendas long enough to make the wise decisions that need to be made.
However, maybe I can make my own little corner of this world a little bit better if I vow to listen before I respond, to try to understand the other person's feelings and experiences, and to, just maybe, realize that I AM NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!!!!
I hereby resolve to spend 2015 listening with an open heart and open mind --