By Hakim Abdul-Ali
Many times in my travels throughout the land between here and there, I come in contact with many interesting “hue-mans” and even more some curious and mind expanding illuminating signs. Well, last week was one of those occasions when I saw, of all things, a sign in a store that made me think very deeply about the meaning of what it implied.
First, l’d like to set the scenario where all of this took place for you because it was a spur of the moment happening. You see, it occurred while shopping at a business called The Palm International, which is an African and Middle Eastern herbal, food, book and other assorted speciality items supply store in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The store’s kindly owner, Ms. Comfort Agyeman, who hails originally from Kwabeng, Ghana, had just brought into her store a rather imposing framed sign with a distinctive message on it that she had literally just purchased for display in her business. Upon seeing the sign, it immediately triggered something in my thinking brain waves about some important missing links in the “hue-man” communication process, and I was taken to another “As I See It” level in my thought processes to write about it.
The oversized frame that Ms. Agyeman purchased contained the sign’s striking message boldly read:
Speak In Such A Way
That Others Love To
Listen To You
Listen In Such A Way
That Others Love To
Speak To You
Before continuing, I politely request of you to carefully re-read the aforementioned wordage slowly once again to absorb the full impact of its conspicuous meaning.
If you do, you’ll, hopefully, be able to follow my drift where I’m coming from today with this week’s message. From witnessing the sign’s communique, I believe that it subliminally reaffirms something that we all in “hue-manity” need to grasp before it’s too late in breaking down some of the barriers that are dividing us from within and are holding us back from establishing unity and mutual self-respect for each other.
I firmly believe that it all starts with our communication processes and, as such, listening while not interrupting requires of us to exhibit a special kindred desire to want to hear what the other “hue-man” being has to say when entering into a conversation, discussion or dialogue. That’s a realm that is so very, very real, and if you don’t understand this, then maybe you can’t see, nor understand, why most of today’s relationships, personal and otherwise, are frayed by the tongues and are abused between the lips.
Listen, when any exchange of views is interestingly given, and involved individual speaking views are direct, sincere and heartfelt, anyone should and would love to listen to that soul. I know that I love to listen to and be around intelligent, informative and profound “hue-man” beings, who have something to offer and share with me and the rest of “hue-manity” on a positive note.
When that occurs, it’s like knowing that that individual is delivering a sensible stream of meaningful and enlightening insights from his or her knowledge and perspectives. I enjoy being in such arenas because it’s important for me to hear what they’re saying because when, again, times like that occur, I, and you should too, feel honored to be in that soul’s presence making the conversation even more relevant just by listening intently.
Do you get that? I know that I do because the reality of so many insincere non-listening folk being present is that they will (oftentimes) smile to your face, but secretly talk negatively about you behind your back. Sadly, that is a far too often tragic occurrence and dastardly reality in the “me, myself and I” worlds of today, and you wonder why “some” folk can never come together in unity.
Hmm! Think about it for another frigid moment in time, if you dare. While on that vibe, a friend of mine once said to me that he heard something someone named Oliver Sachs wrote that changed his life forever in communicating with others. It was,” We speak not only to tell others what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think. Speech is a part of thought.”
If that is true, especially knowing that “speech is most certainly a part of one’s thoughts,” why do we not want to listen to one another with respect, even if we may disagree at times? There are signs behind everything and I don’t think that you can question that definitive reality.
If effective communication is vital in the functional understanding of “hue-man” nature, then, maybe, we all, including me and you, need to give it some more thought about how we talk to one another and the tones we use in carrying out this process. That includes the manner in which we express or convey ourselves, complete with genuine, infectious and heartfelt tonalities, to get our views, thoughts and opinions across.
As you digest what I’ve said thus far about the first part of the sign’s imposing motto, let’s delve into the second part and the next is probably more challenging than the first. Being able to recognize the importance of effective listening is a skill worth developing because successful listening is one of the greatest and highly admired plus marks in communication and negotiations in the worlds of family, business and life in general.
I remember that the late author Ernest Hemingway offered, “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen,” and there’s so much veracity in what the great American novelist and journalist once said in that rather simple truism. Are you still with me so far, are you listening?
I trust that you are because a good listener and a qualified speaker are “hue-man” beings who we all feel endeared to. Think about how many folk you know of in your own scattered worlds of existences who you really consider are potent listeners and constructive speakers, especially to things that you’re presently saying or may have uttered in the past.
In closing, I’m asking you, “Do you also listen in such proportions that folk love to listen to you, or do you just talk for the sake of your own aimless “talk delicacies,” forever pontificating to the indifferent winds of time and space? Being real, it’s a heavy introspective question that requires of you to have a more than a somewhat casual laissez-faire approach to improving your communicational listening skills. Think!
Finally, a psychiatrist named Dr. Karl A. Menninger related, “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones who we move forward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
And now, I’ll close for today on that poignant reminder from Dr. Menninger, noting that we all in “hue-manity” should and need to aggressively partake in being better listeners and speakers. I know I do. Proper listening and respectful speaking are mutually sophisticated and intelligence signs that we all need to and should embrace. For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”