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January 9, 2024

Listen. It’s more powerful than we realize.

How do we truly know someone?

And how do we know if they’re good for us?

We have heard the expression, “Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.”

We are familiar with the concept that words and deeds are distinctly different. And part of that is true.

But what unites both words and deeds is the issue of behavior. Behavior is the common denominator of both.

So, with behavior in mind, and more specifically, personal character in mind, the behavior is what we listen to, far beyond words. How do the words behave?

An online sentiment captures this beautifully…

“If you listen carefully enough, someone will tell you exactly the kind of person they are. Sit back and listen.”

There is a lot of our behavior, a lot of the “reasons” why we deal with someone in a certain way. It’s even more dramatic if we are “putting up” with an unhealthy and dysfunctional persons’ behaviors. There’s a lot of us to be found within this online statement.

Let’s study this a bit more.


First, there is the matter of “if.”

Do we even start the listening process? Is it optional? Do we know we have the capacity and the power to listen?

Or do we entertain other noise and excuses?

We’ve been in situations where we have checked out of the conversation. The person is droning on and on; the conversation is boring. We’re distracted.

No matter what’s happening, we are not tuned into what is being said, and what kind of behavior is being displayed.

We can miss some major things, some red flags, simply because we decided, in one way or another, that we can afford the option of not listening, of opting out.

That decision, however, can cost us dearly.


Not know. Not even hear.


We need to know what effective listening is… and what it is not. We can hear noise. We can assume we know what someone is saying to us.

But do we really?

“Listening” involves paying attention to nonverbal cues, subtle, under the radar passive-aggressive comments, and hypocritical word and deed moments.

What are we experiencing, taking in the entire communication from a person?


Not us. Them.

Welcome to the wonderful world of projection.

When we are involved in the communication of a relationship with another person, we need to remember that some of this listening depends on projection. Another person can project their toxic beliefs, views, and behaviors onto us.

But it’s not simply a one-way street.

We, likewise, can project our issues onto another person as well.

What is being messaged to us, not only by another person, but also by ourselves? What is their issue, versus our issue? What is our trait, versus their trait?

It requires differentiation, fully knowing what belongs to us, and what belongs to them.

And part of that differentiation involves understanding and translating thoughts and beliefs. We need to separate them, deciding what is us, and what comes from another source.


Whenever we hear something, we must ask ourselves, “Did they say that?”

It’s more complicated than this seemingly simple question.

The concept of “telling” is not just speaking and receiving messages. Telling involves insight. It is uncovering the clues, the hidden messages, and the true nature of someone’s motives. We hear about “tells” within the context of playing a game of poker. Life has its abundant share of tells also. If we can recognize them and translate them for what they are.

“Tells” can also reside in the silence, in what is not being said. The true message can lie in what is withheld, in the absence of certain words and sentiments.

And that true message can signal the true person we are encountering.

“What kind?”

What kind of person is this?

As we take in the information, the messages, the different tactics another person using in communication, we can assess what kind of individual exists.

And then we must decide if we want them… or if we don’t.

Who do we want in our lives?

It’s a valid question, never to be underestimated.

Are they who they say they are? Are they the exact opposite?

Did they lie?

What would be in it for them if they did?

Sit back and listen.

Decide. Concentrate. Pay attention.

Only we can decide for ourselves who and what is important to us. Dealbreakers.

This doesn’t happen accidentally or automatically. It happens with focus, intention, and attention. We need to concentrate.

“Sitting back and listening” is active, not passive.

It may be the most active thing we ever do in our lives.

Copyright © 2024 by Sheryle Cruse



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