This is going to sound strange, but I love to people watch. Don’t let that panic you, I am not a stalker watching one person in particular. I am not a weirdo. I just enjoy the human race. I love watching people interact with each other. What they say, what they don’t say, and how they carry themselves. What can I notice from their body language or mannerisms? I find it fascinating seeing the nervous ticks of others, and how we all compensate for our insecurities. I use humor to attack my weight problem, and I tend to laugh off my insecurities with quick quips and sarcastic retorts. Others use their clothing, or they spend a lot of time in the gym, or maybe they take on a certain label (vegan, democrat, Christian, etc.) What I am starting to realize as a self-proclaimed “veteran” people watcher is that people are always waiting to talk, and those same people rarely really listen.
I am extremely guilty of this. I formulate responses before the person I am speaking to is finished with their thought! I do not let myself enjoy the person in front of me, and if there is silence between myself and someone else, I won’t let it stand for long. In truth, my thought process in inherently selfish, and I don’t love the person in front of me like I should. I also don’t let a lot of people really know who I am. The public Scott is far different from the private Scott. The public Scott is still me, but it’s the story of myself that I am comfortable sharing. Truth be told, the private Scott is introverted, a bit weird, opinionated, and finds awkwardness funny. Do you know how few people find awkward situations funny? There are not a lot us out there.
As a man I also struggle with faith, trust, control, and letting a woman as good as my wife love me. I spend so much time waiting to talk that I don’t ever listen. Ironically, the person I need to listen to the most is me. Still I talk over myself, convince myself that I am not worthy of this or that, and I am always trying to define the story that will describe the public version of me. Yet, I hear all the things I am not. I think you get that. I hear all the things I can’t do! All the flaws in my appearance, all the flaws in my personality, and I see my deficiencies. They are plain as day and no filter on Instagram, or post on Facebook will take away a lifetime of listening the wrong way. The scary part is realizing how much you have been listening, but you listen to all the things that make you feel inadequate, worthless, and unworthy of love.
I look back at the last year of my life and I am so proud of my wife and myself. We have taken risk, put ourselves in uncomfortable situations, and we have strived for a life few ever get to live. The Bible says we are all wonderfully and beautifully made, and I believe there is something to love in everyone. Going forward, I am striving more to listen and love the person in front of me. When I do talk I want to be a voice of encouragement and authentic love. No more pretending, no more formulating, and no more gossip or tearing down of those around me. Even while joking or playing around I will remember “People don’t always remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel.”
In the meantime, I am learning to listen to myself, listen to the hearts of others, and rest in the beautiful sounds of silence. When it comes down to it my opinion never mattered more than the people I share it with!