The Power of Listening

To speak out is a powerful thing, but to listen to others whose voices are so often over powered by speech is an act that is perhaps even more important, and may one day help change the world.
To give amplification to whispers silenced by adversity is in my opinion the best shifting of power.
I realize the irony of writing a post that basically proclaims we shut our mouths and listen. However, like all things in life, there is a process.
I am a firm believer that change in this world begins with the development of new perspectives.
If everyone in the world were to remain in their own heads–myself in included– we would never see or hear anything other than our way of thinking. Even the most well intending people on this planet have things to learn from one another.
So how do we change?
Sure, we can’t all have the luxury of hopping on a plane and travelling to other communities to see lives different than our own.
But we don’t have to.
All we have to do is listen.
You don’t even have to like it! In fact, what you hear might make you confused, sad, or even angry! But it is the presence of this reaction that is the impetus for the next step.
Lean over to that friend and ask them, “Why do you think that way?”
The conversation that evolves after may end unpleasantly… but what you have just done is opened your mind to see someone else’s way of thinking. Metaphorically, you have hopped on a plane and travelled to France where you don’t speak the language, and you don’t know the customs.
You have listened.
You have learned.
And you may not agree with it, but it’s a start.

I spent so many years of my life running my mouth. So many years being told that my opinion matters and I should share it.
First of all, how fortunate for me that I grew up with the mentality that I had a voice–and one that needed to be heard!
But what I never realized is that I needed to LISTEN.
I’ve learned the most from listening. I’ve travelled to so many places on the voices of others, and opened my eyes to worlds I never would have seen otherwise.
It was then that I finally felt comfortable speaking. But I think it was because I spoke half with a voice that was my own, and half with a collection other people’s shouts and whispers that desired to be heard beyond their own volume level.
I’m not perfect. I am constantly growing, and I am constantly listening.
I hope you hear this whisper, and I hope you share it with someone else.

dedicated to Tiffany Favers: The woman who taught me to open my ears, and in turn opened hers for me.

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