I talk a lot, I've always thought this was a strength. I love to communicate, to express my ideas, to share my opinion. Recently I've begun to see it differently, I've realized the more I talk, the less I can listen, and listening is incredibly important.
Listening means you can understand more, you can learn more, you can take in more of the world around you. You can glean knowledge, wisdom, and perspective from those around you. You can connect better, ask better questions, be a better friend, coworker, employee, girlfriend, sister, daughter if you listen more.
Additionally, I tend to speak aggressively (passionately). I grew up with a headstrong set of siblings, three other people who were always in competition get their ideas heard, the four of us, will probably always be this way with each other. It felt as though I needed to talk louder, faster, and with bigger words to get my point across. That to be heard meant to be practically yelling at my brother. Turns out this is far from true, it seems the louder and more aggressive I get, the less I'm heard. The more I talk, the less my thoughts and opinions have validity. It's a balance.
I seem to forget that I have the right to an opinion but not necessarily the right to voice it. Yes, I need to stand up for myself. Yes, it's good to share, connect, and communicate. Yes, it's good to be headstrong, bold, and passionate, but it's not the best relationship-builder to voice an opinion with such headstrong-ness I need to work on the finesse, the art of communicating in a way that feels productive rather than destructive, and sometimes that means listening, challenging patience, and zen-ness.
I need to listen more, and talk less. I need to hear others out, before jutting in, I need to embrace calmness and patience when I speak. I need to remember that if people don't feel the same way that I do, it's okay. That I can continue to feel, think, or know something in my own way and that it's not the end of the world if others don't agree. The art of communication, is just that, an art. To master I need both skills, speaking and listening.