Are you REALLY listening to me???

im still listening to you.....really

By Kenneth Justice

~Have you ever felt like someone wasn’t listening to you? Have you ever felt whenever you’re away from a loved one or a friend that they don’t spend even one minute of their life thinking about you?

Last week I shared an example of standing outside of The White House and feeling entirely disconnected from what was going on in the inside. It’s only natural that many of us feel that our leaders don’t listen to us or don’t give a damn about what is happening outside of their little political world…after all, Governments have become so big they can’t be responsible with paying attention to all of us……or can they?

To be honest with you, I often feel a bit overwhelmed in my little blogging world here. If my Website was the only aspect of my life I had to think about, then I would have a lot more time to devote to it….unfortunately I have to work a real job to pay the bills. There are so many up sides of blogging but the down sides are that it takes a lot of time.

I’ve read posts by a few bloggers recently who are all either stepping away from their blogs entirely or dramatically reducing the amount of time and energy they put into the blog. I can totally understand what drives good bloggers….away from blogging; it takes a lot of work. Because I developed a routine many years ago of waking up early in the morning it’s been the only way I’ve been able to stay relatively current and up-to-date with my blog. Nonetheless, because of the busyness of life I often feel a tad bit embarrassed when I only have enough time to respond to comments with two word statements;

—) ‘great point’

—) ‘good comment’

—) ‘I agree’

—) ‘That’s insightful’

I mean c’mon here….am I some kind of brain-dead bed-ridden carrot stick that I can’t respond to each of my readers with more than three words? But isn’t that how life is so much of the time; there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done that we want to accomplish.

One of the people who made the biggest impact was an incredible listener. He was a retired school psychologist and he and I had coffee two Saturday’s a month for seventeen years…right up until he died last year. Each Saturday that we sat together he had this keen ability to make me feel as though his entire mental faculties were focused on me… though he had nothing else on his mind whatsoever.

But even more impressive than his ability to listen was the time and energy he put into our friendship. Though he was 50 years older than I, rarely a month would go by during those seventeen years that he didn’t drop me a letter via snail mail, call me on the telephone, or stop by my house……despite the fact that he would see me at coffee every other Saturday!

For the past six months I’ve been feeling this massive void in my life….and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out what it was…..and then it hit me; this friend, the person with whom I was closer to than any other person I’ve ever known…..has been dead for nearly two years.

—) There’s been no snail-mail letter

—) There’s been no periodic phone call

—) There’s been no casual drop-by-my house

Nothing……he’s gone.

But, this post isn’t about grief and it’s not a pity party for The Culture Monk…’s about listening and when we realize that someone isn’t listening to us…….it can really hurt.

—) When our parents don’t give us the attention we need as children it can hurt

—) When our loved ones don’t truly listen to us it can hurt

—) When our bosses ignore what we have to say it can hurt

—) When our political leaders don’t give a damn about our pleas it can make us angry

So having said all that I realize how important it is to listen……and I am listening. I read all the comments and all of the emails that are sent to me…..even though I can’t always respond I try bloody hard to reply …..And I’m always listening. Just like the man who gave me so much of his life all the way up until his last breath; I want to do the same for the people I care about.

I only wish we could all sit down and have a cup of coffee together!



Categories: Culture & Society

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43 replies

  1. I was an avid blogger on another site…..there comes times where we have less & more time to devote to our ‘guilty’ pleasure of writing. *smiling* I have some time on my hands right now & wanted to say thank you for the fond memories of those that have touched my life and have had passed on now for some time. Those voids in my life feel full of fond memories…I have to hold those closer to my heart as to not harden it over time. Much Love & Light on your journey through this crazy world.

  2. I LOVED this post, Kenneth. Thank you, very much.

  3. Reblogged this on Chadwick and Amy and commented:
    Practicing the art of listening.

  4. Wonderful post, Kenneth!
    Listening is so important! There’s a reason we have only one mouth, but two ears 😉

  5. Sometimes all it takes is someone who listens No other words needed.
    That is how I started my blog. To show the thoughts of my brain to who is willing to read/listen I ask for nothing more.
    All I ask is; Do i have fun doing this if it is yes then does it matter I put some time in it that i can spare.
    In the end you do not have to be online every day, that is your choice. And you should never feel pressured to do so.
    Just my two cents. And would be nice to have a day without blogs and just coffee and discussions.

  6. Great post.
    Having been blogging for a little over a year, I’ve found one of the most surprising (and gratifying) things about it, is how the enormous community of bloggers are so friendly and helpful.
    I never expected the blogosphere to be a completely new social network and what’s more, one full of articulate, intelligent and interesting people from all walks of life.
    I’ve always made time to answer comments and, wherever possible, to connect through other social media with bloggers I’ve met via sites like, Facebook, tumblr, WordPress and Blogger.
    And apart from anything else, the more contacts you keep in touch with, the more people read your blog. It’s a two way street.

  7. Listen to learn and learn to listen.
    I’m not done either.
    Here we are using the word listen in our silent blogging world.
    Hmmm… that’s interesting.
    It’s like that still small voice inside… it likes me to learn to listen even in blogging.
    I’m off on that then.
    The void…. we all have one.
    is filling it what it needs?
    – Eric

  8. When one person gets me, I’m blessed.

  9. I’m pretty new to your blog and enjoy reading it, though I don’t often have the time to comment. Thank you for each thought-provoking post. I’m listening.

  10. If it makes you feel better, you are much better at listening and responding to what your readers post on your site than many many others out there. I don’t think I have ever felt that you didn’t pay attention to what I’ve posted even if it took you days to respond. When we think someone isn’t listening to us I think it is because we know they aren’t, not that they are merely giving the impression that they aren’t. It’s all about the tone in which you communicate and writing can have just as much of a tone as speaking can. You have a tone that encourages people to listen to what you have to say and then open up a back and forth discourse between people who would otherwise have never shared their thoughts. I think even without realizing it, your long-time friend taught you a thing or two about how to interact with others and he will always be with you, even if you never again share a cup of coffee. This was an excellent topic and I hope that others will stop and think about how important listening is and how much it can strengthen our relationships with others. If we want good communication we have to be willing to give it.

  11. And I wish that we can not only empathize, but apply the desire to really listen to our own lives.

  12. Taking time to listen – so important in a world were everyone wants to have their say! Thank you for listening, Kenneth 🙂

  13. Listening is truly an art form and takes skill. In this crazy, super busy, don’t have time to really listen world, listening has really taken a beating. I wish I could say I have the same problem but sadly my little blog doesn’t get that kind of attention right now haha – perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise right this moment though as work has me quite busy (no matter what i write every day).

  14. This is a great post! I think many people are so stressed that they often want to talk about what is on their mind. This in turn causes them to listen less, because they are always sharing and talking. It is one of the main reasons I socialize less these days. If I have to sit down and only listen all the time, without sharing what is on my mind, then I would rather not talk to some people. Sharing from personal experience, I have a great ear, but damn some people wear it out.

    • Dude, you’ve really hit on something because it does seem that in order to socialize we really have to sit silently for most of the conversation…..just…..listening

  15. It’s always nice to be listened to, and actively responded to. But it does take a lot of energy, especially when some of have to do it for our jobs all day. Personally I would love to spend all day interacting via the blog, but that just doesn’t pay the bills. I love the post.

  16. Blogging does take a lot of time. There’s always the feeling that we should aspire to lots of readers and commenters, but it’s also nice to feel like you can connect with a few people. I only get a few comments so I can usually take the time to respond personally, and it usually feels like I converse with a few people. Thank you for reminding me that I can be content with that, rather than comparing myself to other, bigger bloggers!
    Listening is a hard skill to get right. I like to think of myself as a good listener, because I’m certainly a good talker; but the truth is that I don’t always listen carefully. It’s a quality I don’t like about myself, so I’m working on it. I think it’s okay to be a talker- I like people who have a lot to say, but it has to be balanced with being a listener too or else it’s just obnoxious.
    And I think you do a great job responding to comments! You get a lot, but it doesn’t feel like you ignore people. I stopped reading a couple of blogs because the writers didn’t seem to care much about interacting with their readers- and they weren’t so huge that they couldn’t, it just seemed like it wasn’t important to them.

    • It can be dilemma; as a blogger u want readers, because as others say “why write to nobody…..” but at the same time the more readers u get the more u have to take into consideration what it is u are writing about.

  17. When you ingest or inhale foreign pathogens, the tonsil lymphoid tissue sends out lymphocytes to engulf and destroy them. See I am listening. Many of the people that I talk to that drift off are usually uncomfortable talking about a subject they don’t want to deal with. I am trying an experiment I call “No Bullshit Month”. When I run into one of these people I feel never really listen to my answer from their “How Are You?”, I just say nothing. If they freak out (which they often do that I don’t say FINE!) I say “sorry I have no short answer. It has made me feel a little better about who I choose to talk to. I have found my awareness of my own listening and authentic relating has been acute.

      • “how are you” is definitely one of the worst ways our culture has developed in greeting each other….because too often, as u pointed out, people don’t really care “how u r doing”
    • Btw, so people with tonsils can’t fight off the foreign pathogens as well then?

    • It is still not very well understood how this first line of defense has to be compensated for in a person without. In most situations they seem to do FINE. We won’t know until the whole immunological system is understood. I do know they don’t remove tonsils at the frequency they used to.

      To my friends who ask How I am, I say INSPIRED (I stole that from Elton John)

  18. I’m sorry, what was that? Oh… I agree!

  19. I love ‘listening’ to your posts. You always have well thought out positions and I like how you can see both sides of an issue. At times you are very idealistic but I like that as well. I’m sure people think I’m idealistic and I tend to avoid discussing highly charged politics on my blog because I don’t want to attract those who represent the far side of any issue.

    I do, however, like to take the time to comment on other people’s blogs when I feel strongly (either for or against) about an issue. People at work think I’m very political because I have strong opinions when I see corruption and stupidity at work in all levels of government. Sitting back and not getting involved in the political process is not the answer for me so I’ve often worked on election campaigns and written to politicians when I’m displeased.

    When I was studying to be a guidance councillor the most important lesson I learned was how to be a good listener.

  20. once a person becomes a good listener they will always have someone to talk to.

  21. Listening is a skill which improves with age.. but also one people can lose through misuse.

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