In 2019 I have decided to LISTEN

I love new year’s resolutions. Yes, I am that type of person. But, I do understand that the calendar doesn’t do miracles and that I won’t wake up on January 1st as a completely different person that goes to the gym, eats balanced meals, and recycles. That is why a couple of years ago I decided to use my new year’s resolutions to challenge myself to do things that I want to do, to be mindful of the way I think about myself and about the way I think and behave towards others.  In 2019 I have decided to LISTEN. Here is why:

Being thoughtful of the conversations I have.

A couple of months ago two of my closest friends were having a heated political discussion and one of them said: “listen to what I have to say instead of thinking about what you are going to respond.” That really spoke to me. I realized that in many of the conversations I was having on a day to day basis I was always thinking on the best way to respond. Even in classes, I would tend to just think of my response to what the professor or student was saying instead of letting myself understand and consider what the other person was saying. 

I’ve been practicing this since the day I heard it. Because responding was what I had done for so long, I had to actively stop myself from forming responses as I heard people talk. Doing this has given me the chance to put myself in the situations others are in, understand where they are coming from, their position and from that evaluate what I could respond. 

Especially when I am in a disagreement with someone, giving myself the time to understand what they are saying rather than trying to answer immediately has allowed my discussions to be more respectful and empathetic. 

Appreciating silence.  

Through attempting to listen more I have realized how much I fear silence. I hate to be in my room without music, I try to shower with music every time I get the chance. I like when rooms are filled with noise and enjoy the feeling of conversation around me. It freaks me out when there isn’t a conversation going on at the table where I am sitting and I prefer small talks than eating in silence. But through this resolution I want this to change. 

If you have ever sat down to have dinner or lunch with someone in complete silence and felt at ease, you know where I am coming from. There is nothing better than not feeling the pressure to start a conversation. Lately, I have tried to appreciate those moments more. I’ve tried to stop filling those moments of silence with useless comments about the weather and rather enjoyed the company of others as it is. This has made me more mindful of those I surround myself with and while I am still struggling to keep my mouth shut, I know that the more I practice it, the better I will feel. 

Developing empathy.   Through focusing on listening rather than on responding, it has come to my attention that I need to develop more empathy. I have realized that I am very fast to give advice or to respond to what is going on rather than understanding what people are feeling. To be empathetic, I must rid myself of what I believe of the situation and attempt to put myself exactly in the situation the other is in. It is letting yourself be vulnerable at the moment to support whatever the person is going through. As I listen to what people are going through, instead of answering, I pay closer attention to what they mean, to what they say, to what they are going through. By understanding that I can better support those around me. 

While it is too soon to speak (2019 has barely started!), I think that this new year’s resolution can really help me become a more mindful and understanding person. So here it goes for a long year of more listening and less talking!