For those of you who know me personally, you may not believe that I spend most of my day quiet. I am usually listening to my kids boss me around, reading, and writing. When I am around other adults, I get so excited that my brain goes into overdrive and I tend to not be able to control my excitement. That comes out in the form of massive amounts of talking. The more I like you or know you, the more uncontrollable the talking.
I have found myself being a little conversation dominant because of this and have been working this week on really trying to shut up and listen. There is still a lot of work to do, but the reinforcers of my new "listening to others" behavior are strong. I am really getting to know the people in my life who I care about on a much more personal level.
Sometimes it is easy to keep things on the surface. It is not easy to get "deep" with people and really listen to their needs, their fears, and what is really happening in their lives. It can be scary to go there and sometimes we feel like our own stresses are overwhelming enough, let alone taking on the stress of others. But by being more attentive to the people I care about, I find that their problems and issues are not added stress. I am genuinely grateful to get to experience them and their emotions. I find it helpful and reassuring that other people experience the same emotional things that I do and that we can relate to each other. This ability to relate creates even more love in the relationship.
As much as I love a fun, light conversation, it is the complicated stuff that helps me grow and bond with those I love and begin to really understand those I am coming to love.