I was with a group of people yesterday and we were talking about how the greatest gift, or way of being of service to someone, is to listen. Many times that’s all anyone wants, to be heard, and yet, too many times we chime in with our opinion or experience before they’ve had a chance to finish. One of the people in our group had said that he used to have that problem, of interrupting before someone was done, but he uses the acronym W.A.I.T! Now, before he speaks up he asks himself why he’s talking, if it’s important to interrupt what’s being said, is it adding to the conversation, is it useful, it’s helping the other person or people in the group, and is it the truth, or, is it his ego speaking for him to look superior to the group or in front of that person. I smiled. I used to be guilty of interrupting, especially when I knew I was wrong. I figured if I didn’t give the other person time to finish and finished it for them I would appear to have all the answers and already knew what they were going to say, or, that I knew better, so to save time they should just listen to me and stop talking. The truth is, I had a lot to learn by staying quiet and listen…and still do, we all do.
When we allow someone to finish what they’re saying, and may need to say, we are showing them respect, a respect we all deserve, and by pausing and listening to them we may also learn some new information, what we’re also saying by not saying anything is that we are still teachable and open to new ideas, something that is imperative for our continued growth, intellectually and spiritually. By pausing it also allows us to do a quick spot check, in terms of what we’re wanting to say, to ask ourselves why we feel we need to say it, and if it’s something that will move the conversation forward, or are we speaking up for different reasons that only serve us? Or, are we responding out of fear, anger, or jealously? Again, if we take a moment to pause and get in touch with our intentions for wanting to speak up, or respond, it gives us that moment to let those immediate emotions calm down so we can make a better decision about what and if we’re going to respond.
When I started on this path I had to basically throw out most of what I knew. I had to start from scratch. And I had to question my motives and instincts always at the start. My reactions to things were almost always fear based, so I was often quick to respond and jump in, many times regretting what I said and did later. I too, was told to W.A.I.T. and it was that pause that helped me not to hurt others by stepping all over their conversation and trying to sound smarter and better than they were. I also learned how important it was to be heard. I had a lot of questions, feelings and emotions at the start of this journey, many I had trouble making sense of, and if someone took the time to sit to listen to me, even when it didn’t make much sense, it meant so much to me, and most times, even just by saying it out loud, even without a response, I would figure out the issue, but also, many times, it allowed someone else who had been where I was to share their experience with me and offer some suggestions. Those exchanges helped me heal, and I learned a lot from them, not only by finding answers to my questions, but also it taught me how to be a good listener myself.
Everyone wants and deserves to be heard, make sure you’re not taking that moment away from someone who really needs it to feed our own ego. You might just learn something yourself by pausing and making yourself W.AI.T. and asking yourself, why am I talking? SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you let others speak or are you always quick to chime in? Why do you think you do that? When you think about not doing that, what comes up? What do you feel? Where do you think that need comes from? What can you do to change it? When someone takes the time to listen to you, how does that make you feel? What do you think you can learn by pausing and not immediately jumping in a conversation? Try to pause SLAYER, and W.A.I.T., ask yourself, why am I talking? If it’s not adding something positive to the conversation, then maybe just listen and see what you can learn.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you