Listening versus Hearing

We have all had those moments where we don’t listened.  We hear the person talking, but we have completely zoned out and merely hear parts of the monologue.   It happens.  After all, we are human….flawed, imperfect, human beings.     Yesterday, while sitting in a drive-thru line, I received a phone call from a friend.  We were chatting about a social event that we had attended.  I wasn’t aware that she was processing an interaction that she had because, well, I was distracted.  I was getting ready to order and really only half listening.  After the end of her share, I responded, “It really was a lovely event,” and went on with another phase of the conversation.

A few hours later, the same friend called and inquired about my change of subject when we were speaking earlier.  I realized at that moment, I didn’t even hear what she said.  Ugh….it was uncomfortable.   I had to come clean about not hearing her and offering a sincere amends.  I could list a litany of excuses, but today, I have to be accountable.  Accountability, for me, is the only way to live an authentic life.

After our second conversation,  I sent her a text that reinforced my apology along with saying that we all deserve to be heard and that I will work on being a better listener.  Listening is really the art of being completely present.  And while I admit my part, I also need to forgive myself.  I am going to make mistakes.  I will hurt people even unknowingly.  However, I will own it and work hard to be the best version of me.  It is a process, this human journey, and even though I am approaching fifty, I still have a lot to learn.

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