This is a series that I’m calling Thursday Think– It’s loosely based on when I used to work in animation and the studio that I worked at had monthly speakers come in and talk about their experiences. I’ve always found it really interesting to hear about what others have gone through and how they think. My version can get kind of long and wordy, but I wanted to discuss some things outside of just photography. I think it gives a little better idea of who I am and the things that are on my mind. Sometimes they’ll be weird and short. Other times they’re a little longer and more serious. If it’s not your cup of tea, please feel free to just come back on other days for the photos! Either way, thanks for stopping by.
Sometimes living in LA it can feel like a fight. A fight to be heard. Everyone is talking over everyone else, and it almost verges on comical how no one is really listening to each other.
But the thing is, I don’t think it’s just a LA thing. I think it’s actually just a people thing. Especially in our society people just want to talk. Talk, talk, talk. About themselves. Bryan and I are definitely big talkers, that’s no secret, and even though we make an active effort to listen to each other, too often it becomes the race of who can get their thoughts out first. Is it healthy? No. Is it productive? No. Does it make either of us feel good in the end? No. In fact, it’s exhausting.
B proposed an idea the other day of each limiting what we have to say to five sentences or less and then letting the other person to speak. That might sound crazy to have to put boundaries on a conversation, but, well, what can I say, even after six years we are a work in progress. The funny thing is, I said to him, “Well, what if I can’t get it all out in five sentences?” He replied, “Why would you need more than that?” I thought for moment before I laughed and said, “Because I like to hear myself talk!!”
That’s just it. Sometimes we are so focused on what WE want to say, that it’s less about the conversation and what we feel we need to get out of our mouths. Because it makes us feel heard, it makes us feel important. It’s a release. The problem is, after a certain point, you’re just the jerk who goes on and on about themselves. No one ever wants to be on the listening end of that. But what would happen if everyone just shut up and listened to the person that they were talking to? Like really listened? I think a few things would happen:
1. The person you are talking to feels that you are really interested in them, and really care about what matters to them.
2. They therefore appreciate you and want to hear what you think, too.
3. You have a stronger bond, and they go out of their way to help and listen too, because they now value you. You make each other feel important, which is something we all need.
Who doesn’t want to be heard? If you are thinking right now, “Well, no one ever listens to me!” then you are missing the point. It’s the magical thing about listening. When you stop being selfish and worrying about yourself so much, and care and put effort into building other people up, it comes back to you ten-fold. The more we listen to everyone else around us, the less we will feel the need to put a megaphone to our lips and the more we build real and lasting relationships.
I think it’s important to remember that most people care mostly about themselves. I think that’s a natural instinct for most all of us. But if you are the one person who listens, you actually become very valuable and it’s also quite powerful. Because the moment you listen is the the moment that people start caring about you because you are one of the few who does. Imagine what that would mean to have so many of those deeper connections with others. I think it would make life much easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
These are all things that I’m experiencing now, and that’s why I wanted to talk about it. If it sounds like I’m on a soapbox, I don’t really mean to be. They are things that personally I never thought about and feel like I’m late to the race in learning. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long, and it’s all honestly really changed my outlook on the way I interact with people. I’m also making deeper connections with them, which feels so rewarding. If you’ve ever struggled in a similar way with your relationships (love, friendships, business, etc) with others and building strong bonds with people, I really hope that you find them useful too.