Reflection

There are often times when I wonder what I would tell a younger version of myself. I think about all the things that would help me have the upper hand, all the beauty tips that would make me prettier, all the food I shouldn’t be eating, all the courage I should fake towards bullies, all the times that I shouldn’t have shut my mouth and more importantly, all the times I should.  

As I think about this question more and more, one word sticks out, more and more.
This one word of advice gives you a powerful key in the world, it gives you the upper hand, educates you, makes you prettier, healthier, stronger, hands you top secret information and enters you into a secret underground world of truth into the minds of others.
What is this magical word?
LISTEN!
Yes, listen. It really is that simple. Think about it, yes especially the ‘mouth almighty’s’ out there, what good does non-stop talking do? What do you learn about others? What help do you give others? What other view can you gain if all that is being heard are YOUR opinions, YOUR beliefs, YOUR point of views or YOUR secret recipes? 
None.  
What friend can seek solace in opening up to you about their troubles and worries if you won’t let them finish a sentence!
What knowledge can you gain against your enemies if you constantly lay out a blueprint to your mind instead?
What can you learn if all you do is repeat what you have learned so far?
What respect can you gain if others feel that their say isn’t important around you?
Listen. Listen and learn.  
Stop interrupting. Stop picking up your phone when someone is talking to you. Stop listening only to wait for your turn to speak. Stop going on and on and on!
Now before I go any further, I would like to admit that I am quite the chatterbox, I always want to give my opinion or help someone with advice from knowledge I have gained. However, I have learnt to listen. I have learnt to activate a switch in my head and send a signal that says ‘shhhhh, just listen, forget what you are bursting to say and REALLY LISTEN.  
If you want people to actually listen to you then you have to give people respect and value what they have to say too.  
I learn a lot about people by listening. I learn who they are in between their words. I learn their strength in between their sorrows, I learn their weaknesses in between their excuses, I learn their compassion in between their fussing. I get to see some extraordinary qualities that I would miss if I did not shut my trap for once and pay attention (N.B. Paying attention is the most important part). I would also miss some ignorant qualities, some qualities that make me realise that that person is not who I held them to be. Most importantly I get to know someone, I get to walk in their shoes and learn their stories. Good or bad I’m grateful that they want to share them with me and I’m grateful that I paid attention and listened to them.
Thanks for listening pride!