I found myself lying in bed in the middle of a cold winter night, talking to one of my friends. We weren’t particularly close or anything, just the kind of person you’d see on the street and greet, but nothing beyond any small talk. On that night, he opened up to me and told me so many things about himself, his fears, how he was raised, and what he wanted out of life.
I’ve always been the person that people come to for advice or just to have someone listen to them, but there’s something about that first time someone confides in you. It’s life changing, to say the least. It turns everything around, from the way you see that person to the tone their voice resonates in inside your head. Being let into someone’s life, into their head, is much like losing your sight only to gain a pair of brand new eyes; I’m almost certain no feeling on this physical world can compare to that.
Which is why you need to do it more often.
Listen to others for reasons beyond the pleasure or the selfish gain of it; do it because everyone in this world has a story to tell, an infinite combination of a finite amount of words that somehow will never be told in the same order by anyone else. Listen to the beauty of people’s lives: the way their eyes gleam when they tell you the happiest moment of their lives, the way the tears fall when they do the saddest.
Listen to people when they tell you about themselves because we are all unique in our own way, a composition of traits and values that is special to each one of us. Do it to earn a different perspective from their words, a new vantage point from which to analyze things. Listen because you were lucky enough to be let in, no matter the circumstances; whether those words were screamed in the midst of drinks at a bar or whispered in the silence of the night, they were said for a reason. Not many people have gotten to hear them and you should be careful with that honor, as your newfound trust must be kept intact for it to stay beautiful.
It does not matter to whom you listen, just do it. Allow yourself to let your walls down as others do to you and grasp every detail that embodies every second of that person’s life. Let it consume you, lose yourself in their stories like you do with your favorite movies. You may not be able to change the way their life went, but the fact that you were interested enough to hear what they had to said may be enough to change the way their life will go.
Listen to others because nobody wants to feel alone. Whether it’s giving your sister advice on her dating life and what dress would go better with her skin tone or helping an acquaintance deal with feelings of depression and the hardships of life, everyone wants to feel as if there is someone in this world who will be willing to listen to them whenever they need it. Humans seek comfort within others because we can relate, no matter the scale or importance of it.
Make others feel like they can trust you because, at the end of the day, you will feel better about yourself. Sparing someone five minutes of your time could make the difference between life and death, no matter how extreme that sounds. Listening to someone and giving your input on the things that are bothering them could make their day go better than they had previously expected and that’s a luxury we shouldn’t deny anyone of. Giving anyone that comfort and knowing that you made a difference makes everything better for both parties involved.
Finally, listen to others because it will serve as a reminder that there is more to this life than what you make of it. Everywhere around you, no matter where you go, there are people who have their own concerns, desires, aspirations, fears, struggles, and ideals, and unless you make an effort to tune yourself into their mind, you will forever be confined in a box that is comprised solely of what you think, your version of the world.
Go out and, even if for a minute, ask someone about how their day is going. What plans they have. What they wish to do with their time. Ask your friends to tell you something that happened to them recently. Tell them something of your own. Do not be afraid to share your own stories, as it will make them feel satisfied and trustworthy as well. Whenever you get the chance, just listen to others.