Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Listening for your own good

Listening for your own good

Hello everyone!!

It’s week 4 which means it has been about a month since we started this semester. I hope everyone is doing well so far. Today I wanted to write about a conversation I had with a friend about how hard it is to be heard nowadays and how some people have poor communication skills.

Nowadays, I feel like everyone should have a voice to voice out their opinions but having a voice doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being heard by others. Volume doesn’t play a role to be heard anymore. For some reason, it is difficult for people to listen and understand properly to what others are saying. Sometimes everyone wants their opinion to matter and be heard too, that they forget to see other people’s point of view as well. How can we learn something new if we don’t listen to other people? As Dalai Lama said, “When you talk, you’re only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new”. This is how we could exchange information and discover new things. When you are actively listening, you are able to observe the way other people think which gives you a wider insight into any issues or matters.

Not only that, Listening to someone is the base of successful communication. There is a question whether people listen with the intention to respond or do they listen to understand. It really makes me wonder whether it is possible for people to understand what I’m trying to say if they only listen to respond. People who are poor listeners usually cannot separate their own needs and interests from those of others. Their mind would automatically think of themselves while listening to others talking. They only hear things that are on the surface rather than trying to read between the lines. Often their response would somehow involve shifting the focus back to themselves. They would have already planned out what to say to reply before the speaker could even finish talking, instead of taking time to take in new information to compose an appropriate response.

In my opinion, being able to listen to someone properly when they talk, allows them to earn your trust and respect. If you keep focusing on your own needs and interests, you are dismissing the other person’s opinions and placing great importance on your own opinions. Every opinion should be heard and respected. Sometimes it bothers me how people are so affected by this to the point that they are afraid to voice out their opinions. People should not be afraid to voice out their opinions, they should be encouraged to do the opposite. Many great things happen when people are sharing opinions and being heard.

However, people should also be careful when voicing out their opinions. You don’t need to talk a lot of the time to be heard, you should be wise and careful with your chosen words to be heard. Listening can help you observe the way words could affect people. So let me end this blog with a quote by Epictetus, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak”

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