‘Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
‘ — Stephen R. Covey
Listening have not been my strongest point, and always i get scold for the same thing from my mom that I have not been listening.
It takes a lot of effort and patience to remain focused, especially for people like me who can’t absorb too many information in a day and i would get lost in between the conversation. And every time an argument happens, i find myself saying the wrong things ,seen in the wrong way, and suddenly judged on something i thought i didn’t do.
Only after i have reflected back what they say to me, i could make sense of what’s going on , sometimes a little bit too late to make things right again. The ones i regret most are with those i care about, since thats where it hurts the most. Sometimes we were too stubborn to think that our way are better than theirs that we couldn’t see it the way others see us. And sometimes, we forget to ask ourselves, if what they say about you could in some way be true?
Criticism sometimes can be a good thing, sometimes a bad thing depending on how much you are willing to accept and hear what people criticize about us. Especially if it comes from the people you love and care about, we may get defensive for a while, but gradually as we age, we find ourselves grow out of it.
I believe in any stage of our life, there will be that one time when we were so foolish and childish over little things that don’t matter, by the time the fights are over, we ask ourselves, why did we fight over such small issue in the first place?
Once, when my friends cancel out on me over a weekend sleepover, i used to be so upset about it since ive made so much plan and look forward to it. Took me some time to get over it and go back to being friends again, and apologize for being such a little kid. And saying this, don’t make me feel embarrassed anymore because that was the time when i realize who was my real friends.
At that time, it was one of my bff also another close friend of mine back then. It was really hard for me to swallow my own ego and apologize to her after days avoiding her. By then , your course mate have already notice that we drifted apart but wasn’t sure if that was true. So I made up so many reasons that we weren’t fighting, just busy with our own thing. My best friend, did attempt to find me, but it was me who keeps avoiding her. By the time i was done with my tantrums, i realize that i was being nothing but childish friend. It never came across my mind that there will always be next time, its just that at the time things were pretty busy and i was just too stubborn to accept that. By the time i came back to her to apologize, all she did was just hug me and all was well. When i ask her why would she accept me back as her friend, the answer was simple, nobody is perfect.
I must say, i was touched that i almost cried. Even after that, we still have arguments, probably lots of it because i was quite a sensitive person. And she was being very understanding to not give up on me, even after i treated her pretty bad. The reason was, she was being straightforward for everything she say about me, with the intention that i can do something about it and change for the better. But she left that part out, and i had to figure out myself lol!
Always, at times, i get into stupid little fights with her and gets angry at her every now and then. Even until now, she would sometime poke fun of me, just to see me mad at her. By now, i realize when she was just joking around to make you feel annoyed by her words, and when she’s not. Either way, you just have to chew it hard and grit your teeth, because she’ll just give you that cold hard fact about you and leave your emotion to yourself to deal with. Seriously she do have some guts to do that, only after licking my own wound that i realize how *beepbeep* i was towards her and to myself for being too stubborn to not try to listen to the reason why she says like that.
So when i went to ta talk recently by IniAnwarHadi that touched on how to advice someone who is very sensitive about what they do or say, the speaker referred to his own experience which is , when he was asked to take down a video post on someone well known of their statement in the news by his parents. At first, he was reluctant, and were very sensitive about it, but later on he reflected, and took down the post because it is hurting people’s feeling. He was referring to commenting on social media where anonymity became both a tool to empower people or can bring people down. He didn’t like it when people are applauding him criticizing the person , even though he feels that he was right, but it didnt feel right when people are supporting your negative behaviour over the internet. So he took it down because it was only going to feed his ego. From then on, he would think again why he is posting something up and whether or not this is something that feeds his ego or for a good reason. So he would ask himself again and again about what he was about to do are going to be good for the people or for himself?
So when there was a question on the best way to approach sensitive people is to have empathy by putting yourself in their shoes, and try to understand them better first, on why they are behaving that way. Which many of us probably forgot to ask ourselves why we want to say something or do the things we do rather than what we want them to be. So, instead of putting them in a list of all this judgements we think we know about them, he asked the audience to get them asking themselves why they are feeling this way and talk it out.
Because if we were to put ourselves in other people’s shoe, we would understand why that happens and how to improve from there. Since i believe, when we put ourselves in other peoples shoes, we will find ourselves no different than those whom we hurt. They are after all human being, they make mistakes and aren’t perfect. So you forgive them anyway, because your relationship with them matters more to you than your own ego.
That i believe is what true friendship are, to have that much patience and faith towards one another that we put aside our anger and try to see things from their point of view first instead ours. Because sometimes we are just too focused in wanting people to change to be the way we want, when we forget that we too need to change the way we think they are . Change must after all comes from themselves, so instead of criticizing them, try to understand first their situation and the reason behind what they do before we slowly try to resolve whatever problem we have with them or anyone that we have to deal.
For some times, they were put there not to bring you down, but to lift you up into becoming a better person.And sometimes, the things that people say to you dont necessarily comes from the person, but the Creator of that person as a reminder of our own weakness when we do something that hurts their feelings. Perhaps its just a reflection of our own flaw that we need to reflect ourselves , because He wants to teach you something and they were put there by Allah for our own good so that we dont harm others and hurt them the way we have hurt the person we treated badly.
So we have to swallow our own ego, and crush it hard so that we can see clearly the effects and consequences of what we do to others and grow to learn from it as a lesson in our life.
No matter how much it hurts when it was said to us, we must always remind ourselves that it will hurt more if we continue to be the person that we are being towards others.
Remind ourselves that the words did not come from a person but from God who sends us that person to remind us to treat people better and to be careful when we deal with the people around us and the things we do or say in the future.
We are afterall only human being, we make mistakes, and when we realize it, admit it, there is nothing wrong with it . Even if we think we have the rights to be angry at what people say to you, we dont have the right to treat others bad. Instead, it makes us a better person when we resist ourselves from hurting them back the same way we got hurt by what they say.
Such patience takes a long time to nurture it because to be patient is to be humble. And to be humble is to learn not to let anger and emotion gets the better of us. Hold down your horse, slow down, take a deep breathe, and just let go of whatever negative feelings building up inside.
Then, ask ourselves, why this happens and what is it teaching you? What can we learn from it and how do we make things right to those who said that to you. For sometimes it was voiced, out of concern and not to put us down but to bring us up so we grow to be a better person.
So listen carefully to what they are trying to tell you and dont misinterpret what they say before you have properly discuss with them the reason why they say that to you. Hear them out first, and ask ourselves if there is some truth in it?
And if it is true, then ask them why they are saying like that, and how do we improve ourselves instead of distancing ourselves from them just because we dont want to get hurt anymore. We hurt the ones we love most, but its what we do afterwards that will make our love towards them grow stronger. At least we know that the words they say were true and sincere because they love you so much they dont want you to hurt ourselves and the people around us.
So its okay to get criticized once a while, and check ourselves on where we can become a better person by leaving some of the negative side we have and take it as a learning process in improving ourselves and the way we interact with others.
Its one thing to get hurt, but its another thing when we hurt those we truly love and care just for the sake of hurting them back for our own satisfaction just because we dont like what they say about us. But if we stop and think of why they say it, maybe we can finally make sense of it, that they meant well but we saw it the wrong way because we got our emotion get the better of us instead of setting aside our anger and resentment towards how they treat us. At times like that, its very easy to point to peoples flaw but have we ever thought of our own flaw as we point to others?
Although their words may sometimes stings, but sooner or later you realize that it wasn’t the way we thought they were. And we were not sensitive enough towards others when we think they are such and such person. So learn to listen to understand rather than to reply the next thing they are about to say. True friends would stick around in spite of seeing their friends worst side, because they know there are more goodness in them than the ones you saw. So its only a matter of time that they would realize their mistakes, and if they do come back for you, don’t turn around your back, for it may be the last time you see them again.
If only we realize how short the time is, we wouldn’t be wasting time fighting over stupid little fights and just learn to accept each other just the way they are. Islam, especially encourage us to reconnect with the ties we have broken, and not stay silent up to three days. That to restore the broken relationship are better than to cut all of their ties with you and leave them. And no matter how bad people treat us, we should only return the hatred and anger, with more love and kindness .
“There is no point in keeping vengeance or stubbornness. These things” -he sighed- “these things I so regret in my life. Pride. Vanity. Why do we do the things we do?
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie
“As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed as ignorant as you were at twenty-two, you’d always be twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie