Shut Up and Listen!

“We only really see (or hear) what we want to/ are ready to accept”.



We humans are funny creatures. We pick and choose relationships based on a range of conscious and sub conscious factors that enhance and sabotage our lives. I could go on about the factors that determine the reasons we do/ do not like others for years, but I’ll leave that for my psych articles. Put simply, we are attracted to people we can ‘relate’ to- those with whom we have shared ways of thinking and doing.

As we know, everyone is different, we are each a completely unique machine, made up of our own biological and environmentally constructed factors, which then influence our life experiences. It seems silly then, to think that we could possibly expect to agree with other people 100 per cent of the time.

This is the major underlying issue with relationships though, we get hurt and effected by the decisions, behaviour and words of other machines, ones that we CAN NOT CONTROL. I have learnt however, (through a lot of trial and error!) that we can choose the way we perceive the information projected onto us, and the way we respond to it.

I had a little convo with a friend the other night who shares the belief that it is in our own best interest to not take ANYTHING personally. For years I over analysed the actions of others, questioning ‘why they would do that?’ ‘What did I do wrong? ‘”Why me’ and the ridiculous cycle lead me nowhere and ate me up. This way of thinking is not only detrimental to our well- being, it can send us crazy because, as I said, we don’t live inside any other machine and therefore may never know or understand why she stopped talking to you or why he felt the need to cheat.

There is one particular shift I have made, that has improved the quality of my relationships and my happiness in general. I have learnt to listen to respond rather than react.

When we receive info, we automatically filter it with our own views, beliefs and experiences. We then form a judgment and open our mouths ready to provide it, sometimes too early. Additionally, if we feel somewhat threatened by the info and the way the person presented it, we can become defensive, and respond in a way that feeds our ego rather than each other’s confidence and self- growth.

For example, if I was on a date and the potential flame had caught up with their ex- partner and stated that they looked good and seemed happy, if I happened to be having an ‘ugly’ day and woke up with a pimple on my nose, I may be more effected by the information, and therefore snap, withdraw or reconsider the potential of a relationship. If however I had been to yoga and was feeling great in myself, I may be happy that my ‘friend’ is not hated by their ex. Also, my relationships with my ex’s would also influence whether I like the idea, and therefore how I react.

Letting someone speak instead of butting in or re- directing the convo, or piping up, helps everyone! When we feel heard we are more open to hearing others (funny that!) and so conversations and relationships function better. This of course has to be reciprocated.

A wise person once asked me what the point of maintaining relationships where we don’t feel heard or appreciated was. After finding little reason to keep ‘blood suckers’ in my life, I re- prioritized my friendships. As a big giver, it was important for me to learn that peoples issues are not my responsibility, and that I deserve equal appreciation.

Remembering that people’s shit has little to do with us, and that there is little we can to do change it, other than monitor the way we receive it, is also helpful.

When something ruffles our feathers, is does also say a lot about the stuff WE are made up of, and therefore is important info we can learn from. Observing my internal (and external) responses to info is a fun process I have practiced for a while. The next time something makes you feel uneasy, frustrated, angry or sad, question what the information means for you? what does it say about you as a person and how does it affect your life and value as a human being? this shit can be life changing.

Until we have gained the full lesson from a situation, it will continue to pop up. As the featured quote states, we choose to accept particular knowledge when we are ready to hear it. It helps to remember this when considering the actions, motives and progression of others… we all live different lives. Every situation or encounter we find ourselves in is a test/ learning opportunity. Seize that shit and grow! It makes life a lot more fun, rather than repeating the same unhelpful mistakes!

We don’t always have to agree to get along or respect each other. Of course, life can seem simpler in words, and when our hearts are hurt it is only natural to defend ourselves. We have to choose our battles, and most importantly, choose the behaviour that will best serve ourselves in the long run. This doesn’t include hurting the threatening other or gaining revenge. We always have a choice in how we respond. It helps to remember that everyone is flawed and could be battling something big.

The most important person in our lives however, is OURSELVES. Once I learnt my worth, I became a much happier person.




Author: Isabella M

6th year uni student Bhlr Comms ( Journalism)- graduated Bhlr behavioural sciences & counselling travel, food, wine, learning, laughing, yoga !

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