25 Days of Giving Day 13: Stop and Listen

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When I was a child, I was so quiet that my parents nicknamed me “Mouse”. It suited me perfectly, because instead of speaking up, I was much happier keeping still, burying my nose in a book, and staying out of the conversation. Then I turned 13. Ready to face the world in my Capezio shoes, pleather pants, and a super-sweet, unicorn-inspired Swatch watch, I moonwalked my way into teendom and haven’t stopped talking since.

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That’s me on the right in my 8th grade yearbook, my bestie Susan in the middle, and my friend Alicia on the left, who had clearly taken the Sunday afternoon modeling class at the mall. Me? Still struggling to look at the camera.

Except when I do. Stop talking, that is. Back when I learned that all you had to do to solve Nancy Drew’s problems was skip to the last page, I also unintentionally discovered something else…the value of listening. I was so quiet that conversations went on around me as if I wasn’t there. But I was, and I learned the nuances of pregnant pauses, skipping a beat to absorb a thought, and that, in conversation, it’s O.K. to take a moment to reflect before responding.

So the task for Day 13 of the Kindness Challenge is to stop and listen. To everyone…husband, child, stranger, friend. If you’re not sure exactly how to do this, I have a foolproof method for success. Don’t interrupt. When you let someone else’s conversation flow without acting on the impulse to immediately interject your opinion (and, let’s face it, ego), you open a door to true engagement. Everyone wants to be heard, so make that happen today by simply slowing down, pulling back, and letting someone else talk.

I, Gemini Girl, have interrupted my non-existent programming to bring you the 25 Days of Giving Challenge. Please join me in my quest, over the next 25 days, to make people happy. I’ll share stories of giving escapades that will be sure to wow, delight, or at least not annoy anyone who chooses to participate. Each Day of Giving will be conveniently brought to you via email if you follow this blog. And if you’re already a follower? Pass it onto your friends. If we work together we can change the world, or at least dramatically improve my hit ratio.

13 responses »

  1. This is something I struggle with. I can sometimes see so clearly where someone is going with an idea, that I jump in and finish it. I’ll try your tip to see if it can help me. 🙂

    • I struggle too, in part because I often think my ideas are so important that they have to be heard. Like, right now. I’m actually making it a goal (not a resolution, not a big fan of those), to stop interrupting. Forever. Thanks for the read and comment, Mary!

  2. I am certain I should be commenting on the sage advice you are giving and how I am taking it all to heart and am going to spend the evening listening, really listening, to my four lovely children and perfect husband. However, I am too busy obsessing over this picture and wondering why we always thought it was cool to dress alike to listen to anyone. Miss you girl.

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