Have you ever noticed an annoying trait in someone, only to realize later that you do the same thing? It is said, that what we dislike in others is often times something that we do ourselves.
Lately, I’ve been noticing that when I attempt to have conversations with certain people, they say nothing in response. No ‘uh huh’, ‘ah’ or even a grunt. They don’t even give me a head nod or look my way, to inform me that they’re listening. All I get is silence. “Hello! I’m talking to you!”, I silently scream as I’m staring them down waiting for a response. Most days, I feel like I’m holding a sign similar to the one in the picture above.
I can understand being ignored if I’m saying something of no value or if I’m being argumentative. But when it’s a innocent statement or something that’s meaningful to me and I get absolutely no response, it hurts.
I’ve about had my fill of it, and last week I decided I would speak as little as possible. I realize that sounds childish, but what’s the point in hurting myself by giving people the opportunity to ignore me?
“Words may sting, but silence breaks the heart.” ~ Phyllis McGinley
As I was standing in the bathroom getting ready yesterday, I was thinking about this whole situation. Then, the statement about seeing ourselves in others, came to mind. Do I ignore people? Is this why it’s happening to me?
After some self examination, I found my answer. Even though I don’t exactly ignore people, I do ‘forget to listen’ sometimes. It’s not something I do on purpose. I want to hear what others are saying. Truly I do. I appreciate them and their conversations.
It’s just that I’m easily distracted, by everything. People, noises, lights, you name it. Have you ever watched the scene in the movie “Up”, where the dog gets distracted by a squirrel while talking? That’s me. All those distractions make it very difficult for me to stay focused on the person who is speaking to me.
I try to play it off as though I’m still listening, but sometimes it’s very obvious that my attention has strayed. “My co-worker, the one with 3 kids – he got fired today.” I respond, “Wow, that’s great!”
This really isn’t something I’m just learning about myself. My lack of concentration was brought to my attention a couple years ago by a friend of mine. She said, “If you ever want to have a conversation with someone who’s not listening, then talk to …. (me).” She was right. I couldn’t deny it.
Ever since she made that comment, I’ve been trying to work on myself. Although I’m getting better at paying attention, it’s not been easy. Obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this.
However, it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally realized why it is that I’m experiencing this same issue with others. People are only doing to me, what I’ve done to them. Granted for me, the reasons are solely based on distractions. It is very unlikely that I would ignore someone out of spite. That’s just not my character.
The point is, whether it be on purpose or because of distractions, it’s hurtful to be ignored. I now know how I make others feel. That realization doesn’t make the situation any less painful, but it does make it easier to deal with. If I’m tired of being ignored and hurt by others, I can only imagine how tired the people around me are.
With that said, my new mission is to focus on giving people the undivided attention that they deserve, without allowing myself to be distracted. Maybe if I change, then the others around me will change also.
Have you ever seen yourself in others?
Daily Post Challenge – The Sound of Silence