The Power of Listening

Shannon - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Entered on May 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe if I listen, I can heal. I believe if I close my eyes and open my ears, I will find all I ever need is right in front of me, because listening is not just hearing, it is believing.

I have battled depression for four years, it is like a monster that gets a hold of me and will not let go. I become a completely different person, like Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde. I thought I was depressed because that was how I was wired: I was defective and there was nothing I could do about it. This notion became my mindset and I failed to really listen to what other people were telling me. My failure to listen created many conflicts in my life, both internally and externally. I have had friends, coaches, parents, siblings, and teachers tell me I was beautiful and wonderful but, I never believed them because I never listened. I thought what they said was wrong so I shut them out. I was stuck in the mindset that I was powerless against my disease and my skewed ego did all it could to reject the very idea of happiness. Over the years I have lost friends because they have grown tired and wary from exhausting all efforts to help and convince me that I was okay. They kept talking and I kept not listening. Eventually, I shut them out and in turn they pulled away from me. This was a terrible and lonely time but, it was then that I realized the power of listening.

It is very ironic that I discovered how important listening was, at a time when I had no one to listen to. I realized that although I was hearing everyone around me, I was not listening to them. This time of solitude and loneliness proved to be a blessing and a curse because it gave me time to really listen to what my heart was telling me. I had time to think and consider my feelings and take into account the words of my loved ones. For the first time in my life, I paid attention to my heart and I began to realize that the source of my conflicts was that I did not understand, nor did I pay any attention to what I was feeling. Slowly but surely, I shook the dust off my soul and uncovered the secrets to my sadness. In the process I began to heal myself and the rift I had created with my loved ones.

I still battle depression everyday but, it gets better and better. Some days are great and others are not. On the bad days I have to remind myself to listen: to step back, close my eyes, and listen to the wonderful words of my friends, to the love of my parents, to the kindness and encouragement of my sister, to my heart, and to the little voice that says, “I believe I can heal.”