Is anyone listening?

The TV talks to us. And at us...The iPods are plugged into our ears jumbling our brains with drum beats and guitar strings. The cell phones ring incessantly. Laptops and iPads  demand our attention. Traffic noises overwhelm us...voices shout and scream and  chatter 24/7. We talk all the time! Is anyone listening?

What do we hear...actually? "You aren't listening to me!" is a refrain we hear all too often. Spouses say this to each other...children to parents and vice versa.  Colleagues and friends to each other...and citizens to their leaders...

There's a lot of noise, a lot of talk...but the meaning, the real feelings behind the noise seems to fall by the way side. Why? Is is because we don't want to hear? Is it because we clothe  what we really mean in a web of words that are difficult to cut through?

Do we often protest too much because we feel guilty about saying what we really mean? Or are afraid to say? Maybe because we know we are wrong? Or, maybe we are right, but the truth is unacceptable to the other person? Or maybe we don't want to reveal what's going on inside our heads? After all, we might be considered weak or soppy or sentimental or trying to live up to someone else's ideas of the right way to behave?

Most of the time we don't want to confront reality so we bluster and shout. An errant husband will vociferously deny any wrongdoing covering up by accusing the wife of being  jealous and needlessly suspicious. Employees will  rationalise and use excuses to cover up their incompetence in a welter of words. Children will throw temper tantrums to create a drama that obscure the real reasons behind their behaviour.

Do you ever talk inside our own head as if you are talking with someone with whom you have had a huge falling out? It's as if there is an actual discussion going on but without the yelling and the screaming? Where you lay out all the arguments but without the other party retaliating with loud accusations and counter arguments...? Is it because we are scared that by actually putting into words what we really think and feel we might precipitate a situation from which there will be no turning back.

We do this because we are scared... because nowadays relationships are so fragile, people have so many underlying issues that we never know where we stand with them. And we don't seem to have the time to spend sorting things out...slowly, carefully, without losing our cool...how can we? Life is speeding by, we are in the  fast lane and we will be left behind if we don't keep moving! Life is so fast paced that we have very little time to sit down, face facts and clear the air but without hurting people we care about.

This results in one definite outcome: most of us don't really say what we mean. In case it hurts us or the other person. In case we drive people away permanently. We are all very politically correct to the extent that we obfuscate and cover up under layers of words what we really mean and feel.

We seem to be living on a knife edge of uncertainty...not only about what life is going to hand out to us but also about losing people we care about who don't seem to care as much in return...if they did shouldn't they be telling us loud and clear? In no uncertain terms however much we might argue and disagree? Is it so difficult to cut through the clutter and barrage of noise that it just doesn't seem to be worth it? Or is it that we just don't care enough to make the time to say that we do care? Perhaps we don't...?

 

Rita Dutt

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