I always thought I was a really good listener. I love talking to people about their lives – one of my favorite questions to ask when I meet someone new is: “What’s your life story?” There’s an ice breaker…The long version? The short version? Doesn’t matter – whichever you’re comfortable with, I’ll listen.
Turns out, as I have learned over time, there are certain things I have always thought I was great at – and guess what – I’m human, so sometimes I’m not so great a listener after all.
Now I won’t tell YOU my entire life story yet – just know a couple of key things: I grew up a smart kid, a perfectionist… thought as a kid that I could do anything and everything I wanted. I sang, I played three sports, got straight As, went to Harvard… changed careers a couple of times along the way – from counseling to HR to Technology. In life – I’m married, and mom to a 5-year-old boy.
Three or so years ago, I went through a reawakening of “my passion” when a soccer injury prevented me from playing my guitar for 6 months or so. No playing out, no performing. No fun. My husband noticed how much I had been missing it and, once I was healthy again, encouraged me – a brave thing to do – to spend more time with my music.
Here’s the thing. I am pretty good at listening to other people, but less so with listening to my own inner voice. And here – in that moment – I started listening. It was this small act that helped me to start writing music – expressing my own inner voice – and to love the process along the way.
Over time, I have found myself listening in a different way – to my son, to my husband, and to the world around me. And I can’t tell a lie – it’s not that becoming a mom caused an immediate awakening. For me, it was a slower, more organic and natural process. And it is so very, very far from over.
This week, as I’ve been thinking about Father’s Day, I want my husband – a fantastic stay at home dad – to know how much I appreciate his noticing and listening to my inner voice. Without support like that, I might never have listened to it myself. And it can come from anywhere. When you really listen to someone – it’s a true gift you’re giving, even if no one else knows it but you.
Are you listening?