I love this time of year. Mainly, it’s because I love a proper celebration. There’s so much joy, laughter, and so many LA worthy model smiles.
I get giddy just thinking about it.
All the special award ceremonies recognizing the commitment and hard work of the previous years – from primary school to the big transition graduations of primary to middle, middle to high school, and finally the graduations that mark your entry into the adult world, college and beyond – are filled with so much excitement.
Moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, look on with pride as their kids continue the family tradition or perhaps start new family traditions.
We see the joyous sacrifices of everyone that came together to help the graduate mature, to cheerlead them on during difficult times, and to remind them of their “why” behind it all, perhaps even steeped in the notion that it definitely takes a village!
And, we may find ourselves celebrating with our loved ones with great fervor, attuned to the emotions of others beyond the norm, or reminiscing in our own memories as we pass the “Congratulations!” card section in the supermarket.
Graduation celebrations evoke emotion. They evoke possibility. They ignite the best of who we are and who we are meant to be.
They also evoke a different kind of listening. We are more attuned to the people, places, and things around us. We kind of take on an alter-ego during this time, perhaps even going beyond ego. The way we listen to others becomes magnified with such love and grace.
During these times, let’s not forget to also celebrate what’s possible when we commit to listening to others with more connection, more depth, and more understanding.
Here are a few ways we can consistenly do that.
~ Listen with more connection
The old Latin term for connection, “connexionem”, means to bind or join together. When listening to someone in your circle of acquaintances, friends, and family try to join your worlds together.
What I mean by this is to stop seeing yourself as separate from the other person. The things they talk to you about are as much in your world as they are in theirs, though it may look differently.
Maybe you have a kid or a student that shared they are suffering rejection from their friends because of their beliefs. Or, perhaps you’ve never experienced rejection because of your beliefs, but you may have experienced it because of your personality traits, or the way you dressed, or because you chose to do or not do certain things.
As we bind ourselves together in the matter, we feel a sense of belonging and we help the other person we are listening to feel that they belong here, too.
~ Listen with more depth
When we listen in this manner the other person feels like you get them. You know when someone listens to you and you say, “You totally get what I’m saying, where have you been all my life?!” That’s what happens when we listen with more depth.
How do we practically do this? Breathe deeply, get into your body, and treat the person talking to you as if they are the most important thing to you in the world. Because the truth is, they are in that moment, so don’t forget to treat them that way.
~ Listen with more understanding
This one is so important when you are listening to someone that opposes you. It’s easy to apply this when we agree with others.
Remember, we all stand in our own humanity, so if you are having some friction in your relationships, what can you hear with your heart and mind that the other person is really trying to say.
A good thing to ask yourself, “What does your mind hearand what does your heart feel?”
Enjoy all the well-deserved celebrations.
And, in the midst of the confetti, cake, and cacophony, don’t forget to celebrate listening to the voice within – for you, but more importantly, for the other, too.