The truth is that I was not paying attention to what she was saying. My mind was “connected” to my own personal network, and thoughts on different subjects were floating around like a bank of fish in the sea. Not even the traffic noise could interfere with my self-centred thoughts.
My friend was talking about trivial topics and I “assumed” I already knew where her conversation was leading to. I was wrong. But my focus was on my own interests and talking about frivolous things was not part of my plans for the day.
I had no time to waste on unimportant talking and after all, I already knew everything she had to say. Or at least, that was what I thought.
She suddenly stopped, looked at me and said. “I think that would be a good solution, don´t you agree?”
I stood there feeling a cold shiver running down my spine, since she seemed to be waiting for an answer.
I had no idea what she had been talking about in the last 10 minutes or so.
I felt awful, self-centred and an idiot. She had been pouring her heart out for a long time and all I have cared about was my own interests.
She noticed in my eyes that I had no idea what she was talking about.
“You haven´t heard a word of what I said” She said disappointed.
“Er…mmmh… sorry” was the only answer I could mutter while trying to hide my embarrassment.”
“I knew you were not listening” She said and filling her heart with patience she repeated most of her speech once more.
I felt completely ashamed of my lack of understanding and selfishness, for pretending I knew everything she was going to say that day.
The lesson was even bigger, since many of the things she said, gave me new perspectives on my own issues. It was a great life lesson for me.
Now, I try to be more respectful of other´s people time and I give them all my attention on what they have to say.
On the other side of the coin:
I noticed I do something similar when I am trying to solve some problems but, instead of not paying attention to others, I do the inverse. I keep listening to the general gibberish and stop listening to myself.
When you keep listening to the collective opinion instead of listening to your inner voice, you are making the same mistake I did with my friend, but in a higher level, since that is a lack of self-respect.
When you listen to the crowds, you will end up repeating their mistakes. When you take the time to find an isolated place to listen to yourself, then you will be more likely to find the answer you really need.
Deficiency in attention, either to others or to oneself is a lack of respect and the origin of bigger problems for us all.
But learning to know when to listen and who to listen to, is a skill we all need to develop sooner or later.
When you are with someone else, give them your time and attention, that is true respect, do the same when you are with yourself.
If things are not going the way they should in your life right now, you can be certain that there is something you are not listening to.