Are you listening? Our kids are.
Listening is often the least accepted form of communication. Probably because it requires one to turn off their own individual thoughts and biases and allow their mind and body to be open to learning from another.
Listening has always been an important part of the communication triangle (speaking, listening, responding). But now more than ever listening feels like the place we’re meant to reside.
It’s easy to speak our truths, our beliefs, and our opinions. What’s difficult is listening to one another. Truly listening. Listening without comments, feedback, or rebuttal.
As humans, differences are inevitable.
Our differences are what make up the woven threads of fabric that comprise our history. A history that hasn’t always been founded on equality and justice for all. But instead only holds true for those populations that fit the bill of what equality and justice were “supposed” to look like during that time period.
These differences are meant to be uncomfortable and difficult to acknowledge, let alone talk about, and that’s why this movement is important for all of us as Americans. Our differences are meant to be looked at and discussed. The injustices that laid the foundation for systemic racism must be critically evaluated by each of us in order to learn the impact that is continually felt for our brothers and sisters of color.
Before a solution to a problem can even be contemplated, an acknowledgment that a problem exists must be accepted first. And herein lies the difficulties that I believe plague this country and our people.
When did this word leave our humanity?
As humans, I know we’ve struggled with this concept. But when did it become so far away? To truly care for one another, we must find a way to search for and find empathy once again.
True empathy for others exists when we allow our hearts and minds to listen to others’ experiences and acknowledge their hardships and their experiences for exactly what they are.
True empathy exists when we listen to another’s experiences without commentary or disregard. When we allow another’s words to sink deeply into our being for our souls to process.
Empathy begins when we start to listen. There is no talking here. Only a quiet space to listen to another’s experiences. To breathe with their story, and to try and feel the depths of how those experiences have shaped their lives, their thoughts, and their families.
Here is where true empathy lies. Here is where I long to be. To truly live side by side my brothers and sisters and try my best to listen to their experiences of living in America as a person of color.
And so I leave you with a simple question. Have you been talking, or are you listening today?