Learning to Listen
Writing and reading other blogs has turned out to be a lot more introspective than I could have imagined. I started writing hello, veggy! with the simple intent to share some of my favourite recipes, as well as an excuse to take more pictures and document my life as it unfurled. The personal growth that has stemmed from the blog was unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome. In the past few years, a lot of unplanned events and occurrences have shaped me into a person I never anticipated I would become, and I realize that this evolution is nowhere near complete. This has been particularly evident to me in the past month or so; with 4 months remaining as an undergraduate student, the universe is practically pushing me in a new and unknown direction.
Davida then blew my mind with yet another amazingly insightful post on ditching the plan. After reading it multiple times and letting it sink in I realized that like Davida, my life is demanding some sort of change at the moment.
You know those ‘bad days’ that come around every once and a while? We all have them. They begin with getting up on the wrong side of the bed, progress to a stress-inducing situation at work or school, and cumulate with a disagreement between yourself and a friend. No amounts of tea or phone calls to Mom can fix it, and you’re left feeling dejected, and unable to be a productive human being. In the grand scheme of things, one day like this likely won’t matter all that much; it’s when they come around more often that makes you realize something’s gotta give.
I try to always keep hello, veggy! a positive and upbeat corner of the blog-o-sphere, but I would be lying to myself and to you if I said that every day is spot-on. Like I said before, I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth in the months I’ve been writing, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall recently. After a few days of thought, I determined that there is one aspect of my life I’ve been self-sabotaging more recently; I am a horrible listener.
One of my favourite books covers this topic in great detail. This quote by Richard Carlson from Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff sums up my problem almost to-a-tee:
“Effective listening is more than simply avoiding the bad habit of interrupting others while they are speaking or finishing their sentences. It’s being content to listen to the entire thought of someone rather than waiting impatiently for your chance to respond.”
Not only am I not the best listener among my family and friends, but I also fail at listening to myself sometimes. With the end of my university career approaching with great speed, I am feeling the crunch in terms of getting everything that I need and want to do completed. Unfortunately, I often ignore my inner voice, and instead listen to another one that pushes me in an undesired direction.
I resolved to listen to myself more closely. On Wednesday, after listening to myself I knew waking up at the crack of dawn for spin class wasn’t what I needed that day. Instead, I slept in a bit, went to a juicy yoga class, and treated myself to a coffee and a walk in the beautiful fall weather. Even though spin has been a favourite part of my morning routine lately, it wasn’t what I wanted or needed that day. I hadn’t had a coffee in over a year, for fear of tummy troubles, but after listening to myself, I knew it was exactly the treat I needed.
Miraculously, I felt calm, cool and collected for the rest of the day just by listening a bit closer. There were moments I could hear myself getting caught up in necessary stresses, but I countered this by taking a breath and a moment to listen to what I truly needed. Yes, it was an extra effort to do so but I think it turned out for the better.