The capacity to trade passive hearing for active genuine listening is a wildly underrated and undervalued ability.
With phones, pods, or buds permanently glued to our auditory entryways, blocking out the world in favor of a steady stream of specifically curated inputs has become much more the rule than the exception.
As a raging podcast addict, I’m as guilty as the next inmate. Any finger-wagging admonition might feel loaded coming from someone constantly and currently plugged into the matrix. Like a junkie peddling his own product, there is blatant hypocrisy in the message. That irony is not lost on me.
But when we take the time to hit pause on the endless barrage of information or static distractions being shoveled into our temporal lobes, we free up available space for someone desperately in need of an open ear and an open heart.
I can’t downplay the importance of answering when that person is calling. As merely a metaphor, it is sage advice. As emphatic instruction, a small simple gesture can prevent a misaligned balance of labored breathing from spiraling into desperate gasps at the waterline. Our actions can quite literally lift the stones from the shoes of the sinking.
Without bias or judgment, those in our lives who sit at the top of our respective totem poles deserve the best we can offer, even (and especially) when our packs are already weighty with worry or their own miscellaneous rock collection.
Patience. Purpose. Compassion. Consideration. Empathy. Encouragement.
The best-fitting pieces of the puzzle should eventually paint a picture of balance…as long as we arrange them accordingly.