I thought we were getting better.

As a society where we pride ourselves on learning new ways to communicate and be better listeners, we are still failing.
Let me explain.

Everyday, there is at least one headline; whether it be on social media, the news or at your local “water cooler” that shows judgement, ….other words for judgement…confrontation

You can probably think of a story you’ve seen or read in the last week that has gotten a lot people all riled up. “What is all the fuss about?” you say. “Can’t people have an opinion about something and not get attacked? Why are people taking it so personal?” “How can I not take it personal?”

Have we really become better listeners? What does it mean to listen?
There is a local story I have been following this past weekend. A community group that is holding an upcoming parade, has been given power to ask that police presence at this event not be made visible. In other words, If you are a police person and want to attend the parade, you cannot wear your uniform. The reason behind this is because when some people from this community who are in or attending this parade see police in uniform, it causes them to feel threatened, fearful and unsafe.
This has caused a minor uproar in town. How can anyone feel this way from seeing a person in police uniform?
When you listen to those that are against this decision, it is hard not to agree. So, how do you get to see the other points of view? To get the full understanding of the issue, I needed to open my mind and find other stories, viewpoints to help me decide.
I found a track from a local radio station talking about this exact situation, yet with a different perspective. After “listening” to the 20 minute story, I was able to understand another side to the story. I did not allow judgement to stop me from looking at other options.

Next time you make a decision about something , or you’ve heard something that interests you, I challenge you to become listener to more than one side of the story. Isn’t that what listening truly is?

Sandra Bihelek