Tell Me More About That
One of my favorite parts of college was when I was able to live off campus my senior year with my aunt. She is a strong, smart and amazing woman and I feel so lucky that I had the chance to spend that time with her. She taught me a phrase that I will never forget….”tell me more about that”.
I had made a statement that could easily be misunderstood (I seemed to have so many more answers back then), and instead of assuming I meant one thing or another, she simply looked at me and said, “tell me more about that”.
She didn’t assume she knew what I was saying. She didn’t jump to a conclusion. Instead, she asked for additional information to fully understand what I was trying to communicate.
She is someone who listens, and when she is done listening, she requests clarification if she isn’t completely sure she understands what the other person is communicating.
It seems so simple…but I have spent the last ten years trying to respond this way. I’m not awesome at it, but I will keep trying because I think it is so important.
As a person with social anxiety, people can be exhausting. Social media can be an easier way for me to feel connected to people without feeling trapped in a room at a table trying to make small talk.
Sometimes social media is really difficult too.
It can feel like there is very little listening and a lot of loud opinions.
Most of the shouting that I hear in physical rooms and read online seems to stem from fear.
I understand fear.
When I get scared, when I feel attacked, my walls go up. I get defensive, and mean, and I stop listening.
I am reactive and judgmental, and I can easily turn into a child throwing a tantrum.
Every single person is scared of something. I’m scared of the dark, clowns, feeling pain, vulnerability, and spiders, among other things.
When I read the news, listen to the radio, or interact with other people online or in person, I usually learn other reasons I should be afraid.
Apples are poisonous. Someone is going to steal my child. Toxins in cleaning products are poisoning my family. My lunchbox/phone/sink is crawling with germs. Yoga isn’t safe. Hurricanes, earthquakes, global warming, etc.
Fear is everywhere. We should be afraid of everything and everyone because “you just never know” and “better be safe than sorry”. We are constantly bombarded with messages about why we need to be scared.
It’s overwhelming and exhausting.
I don’t want to be scared all the time.
When someone starts to get angry and mean and loud, I want to stay open and say, “tell me more about that”.
I want to be someone who listens.
The more someone is shouting, the more they obviously need someone to hear them.
My kids are naturally in tune with their needs. They are excellent communicators when it comes to letting me know what they need, but I’m not always great about listening to them.
If my toddler says, “I need you”, and I continue to ignore her- she’s going to get louder…and louder…and louder until I actually hear and respond.
It seems as if we are a country of toddlers who feel like no one is listening to us, so we keep shouting louder and louder.
We shout over each other, so desperate for someone to hear us, for someone to just please understand what it is that we are saying.
People are saying :
“Please, someone, anyone, tell me you understand.
I’m scared and I don’t want to be. I feel so alone.
Tell me you feel this way too, tell me I’m not alone.
Is anyone else out there? Does anyone else feel this way?”
I want people to feel less alone and less afraid. I want to be a better listener. I want people to feel heard. Without judgement or knee jerk reactions, I want to say, “tell me more about that”.