I knew a guy that could turn the conversation back to the topic of himself in under one sentence. Wherever he is now, I know he adores social media.
I have often believed the act of truly listening – where you immerse yourself in another person’s life, opinions, values, concerns and then engage them with follow up questions and thoughts — is an act of spirituality and love.
Like meditation, it takes practice and study and one must let things go, like their own mind chatter and general distraction, in order to focus on the person in the moment.
I always figured that when I met people who could not do this, they were simply untrained or perhaps not empathetic. Now there appears to be another reason. Perhaps they are addicted to the high of discussing themselves.
In this Harvard University study, researchers found “… evidence that revealing even relatively mundane facts about oneself … seems to trigger the brain circuits that respond to rewards such as food and money.”
As a side note: I have an opposing addiction of sorts. Well, not an addiction, a fear, of discussing myself with others in conversation (no problem online…obviously). A psychologist memoir told me it was low self esteem. If you judge yourself harshly, you probably believe sharing opens you up to judgment from whomever you are speaking with at the time. Bingo.
In a way, this relates to my love of writing. All the sharing with none of the judgement. YET. Once published, I will have to heed Anne Lamott’s warning: “Publication makes us more mental than we were. Your own private Idaho. I Am Exhibit A. Cuckoo. So today will write, breathe, pray, play, rest.”