Advice

I Believe in Listening: Voices Matter

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Humans have a natural tendency to want to be heard. This is because our voice and contributions is what people will primarily remember and acknowledge us for. We want others to listen to and agree with our opinions on various topics. However, throughout attempting to have our voices heard, we tend to shut out the voices and ideas of those around us. Personally, I have struggled with that very issue.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what my political viewpoint is. In fact, I’m not going to mention a single viewpoint I have, or even mention examples of what views people may share or disagree on. Instead, I want to focus on what it really means for one to listen to others, and how those principles have transformed me as a person, while meanwhile showing that both sides of the aisle can learn from this type of experience.

I’ll start out this narrative by saying that my political opinions have not been changed, nor do I ever expect them to. I’m quite confident in what I believe in and have believed in my entire life. Nonetheless, over the past month, I have learned what it really means to hear out someone’s opinion, that I do not personally share.

I work as a math tutor at an organization called Mathnasium. One day after work, while closing up with a friend of mine (about the same age as me), she asked me if I was a Republican or a Democrat. I gave my honest answer, and while it was clear she was the opposite, it didn’t seem to matter to her. In fact, it was almost as if she was happy to hear that. She continued on about what political issue was going on in the news at the time (I honestly can’t remember what the full conversation was about), and was super nice about everything. We then switched topics onto more work-related things, and how much we care about the little kids that we work with. She then asked me about my life and how I was doing. I started to realize that even though she has complete opposite viewpoints as me, she was willing to talk to and care about me–not just politically –but as a person, and more importantly, a friend.

This all prompted me to make a change in the way that I view the other side of politics. In fact, I decided to take a 40 day break from politics, which I am currently towards the end of right now. I haven’t read or listened to a single news article or podcast since, and I am a much happier personal in general now. I’m not sure if I even want to go back to being obsessed with politics.

This journey has opened my eyes and allowed me to truly listen to others on a human level. I challenge you to at some point begin to do the same. Look at other people as human beings, and assume good intentions. If I can have my mind changed emotionally, then I promise that you can too.

About Noah Sammond

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