For most of my life, I heard very little. My physical hearing was perfectly intact. I just muted out that which displeased me! I could hear the pleas and suggestions of others, but I did not absorb their truth.
I read something today that speaks to just that phenomenon. It said roughly, “Just because someone can hear physically, does not mean they actually hear”.
The ability to mute our own negative thoughts or self-talk, and truly hear and heed the advice of others, without bias or judgment, is a difficult skill and practice. In my experience, if we are not making progress on our goals or falling deeper into our weakness, we’re probably not listening carefully enough. Or really, at all.
The permanent changes in my life didn’t come until I started truly listening. And letting the messages sink in. I gained control of my life when I accepted that I was out of answers, that I would listen intently and take actual direction from my mentors, helpers, and supporters.
Despite the best efforts of my ego trying to convince me otherwise, when I am in my recovery, I can hear the honest, well-intentioned words of others. I can recognize and comprehend the lessons and wisdom in the message. My recovery, and the recovery from any hardship, requires thoughtful listening. Otherwise, it’s all just noise that you can, and likely will, drown out.
All of us will experience our own personal challenges throughout life. Whether it’s substance abuse, loss, failure, fear, or something else. That’s OK. It’s part of the experience. The key is to look to others who can guide you through the challenges with love, insight, and support. This week, find someone you trust and seek their advice on a problem or issue. Ask for feedback. Have them check your judgment. And listen to the answers. You may just find that you’re better off for it.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community