Do we truly ever listen? It seems so simple merely stopping to take in our surroundings, listening to the limitless variety of individual sounds that create the symphony of life.
Do we ever stop to hear the little baby bird chirping in the tree, waiting for his mummy to come home? Or are we too busy, lost in our own thoughts, thinking about deadlines, planning how we are going to buy that next pair of Louboutins or ticking handbags off of our wish list.
Listening is an essential life skill and which is an important part of communication. Without listening, the transference of information fails and the foundations of society as we know it collapses.
My personal experience throughout high school was that the extroverted personalities were greatly favoured over the introverted ones. Being outgoing and able to talk the talk was seen as ideal. It apparently exuded confidence, leadership and other positive characteristics, whereas the introvert, the listener, was always chastised for being too quiet. For never participating enough. For falling short. Quite simply, for never being enough.
Being more positioned towards the introvert, I always felt like I was made to feel inferior to my extroverted classmates, who comprised the majority of my year level. This in itself confirmed to me that the listener was substandard, abnormal and unwanted.
To a large degree, in the society I live in, my observations from school still sadly hold true. The world to me consists of two types of people – the few who listen to others and those too busy admiring to the sound of their own voice. If you stop and truly listen, soak in your surroundings and marvel in it’s beauty, you will discover the most amazing details about life. You will be a much richer, wiser and more fulfilled person for it.
When I later heard in a psychology class that we need both introverted and extroverted people in this world, my initial response was of frustration and anger. The way it was described made out that introverted people solely play the role in society of listening and executing the ideas of the extroverts. It was as if introverts were merely required to balance out the selfish needs of those who lived for the limelight, fame and power so that civilization remained stable. Introverts were social slaves destined to sit at their desk working away diligently, silently and unnoticed, receiving little credit, recognition or thanks while the extroverts received all the glory and attention.
How is this fair, I asked myself? After much thought, I concluded that this idea the lecturer had described was totally damaging. She was talking about how our tremendously unhealthy society operates. Listening and verbal communication are skills that are equally important and a person that can execute both proficiently is destined to be successful in my opinion. Both skills should be emphasized and fostered equally in children, instead of being skewed greatly towards one extreme. For many reasons society at this point is churning out zero substance extroverts at an unprecedented rate with little focus or importance being placed on learning how to listen and value others.
If you look beyond people’s empty words, you will notice that most of what is spoken of is of little substance and at best is clever small talk and self-promotion. A lot of people actually know very little, as they have spent most of their life learning the art of “pumpery” (a.k.a. self-promotion) and their narcissistic tendencies leave them unable to critically consider the thoughts of another person. Without listening there is no learning, hence why these people have nothing of actual substance to talk about. As Eleanor Roosevelt stated, “great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people” (and my addition, the absolute smallest minds discuss solely themselves). What you are mentally capable of discussing largely depends on how good of a listener you are.
Beyond the literal definition of listening, is the more abstract concept of listening to yourself or your internal voice. Intuition or self-listening is equally important in life, as if you never take the time to live in the moment and truly absorb how you feel, you will never have a chance at happiness. When I listen and act upon what my mind and body tells me, I am lead to what I need. My intuition is like my inner Jimmy Cricket for happiness so it’s in my best interest to heed it’s advice carefully.
Whenever I’ve listened to my inner voice, I have made the best decisions. Such as de-cluttering my life of negative people, changing careers or working out how much exercise I need to be physically healthy (without overdoing it and being exhausted). All these little things quickly add up and contribute greatly to my overall happiness.
Ironically, what brought on the reflection in this post was a lack of being able to listen whilst wearing these Sudio Sweden headphones. The noise cancelling properties made it virtually impossible to hear my photographer, who was frustratingly shouting directions at me from 10 meters away. It made me realize how much I rely on my hearing, and this mentally triggered a sequence of ideas that formed the basis of this post.
Thanks for reading and listening guys!
Adrianna is wearing
Adrianna is wearing a pair of “Regent” Sudio Sweden headphones, white Nobody Denim jeans, Zara crop top and Gucci sneakers. The bag is a large sized Chanel boy in black lambskin with ruthenium hardware.