Wisdom Workout


Are You an Over-Talker or an Over-Listener?

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Talking and listening were fraternal twins separated at birth. Their parents were young and immature and so adoption appeared the best solution for the wellbeing of the babies.

It was decided that neither of the adoptive parents would disclose that their child had a twin.

Talking was a gregarious child. She was curious and had a mind that was easily sparked by everything she saw. Words that expressed her true feelings became as much a part of her as her name.

She was naturally open and could easily dance over the bridge between her inner terrain and the outer world that she greeted each day. Sometimes she exuberantly poured her inner thoughts out with a tumultuous burst of energy. Her words rapidly tumbled out until they took on a life of their own and satisfied her inner longing to be both seen and understood by the significant people in her life.

There were times when she exhausted herself from trying to penetrate the chasm that seemed to exist between her and others. She couldn’t know that her potent drive to communicate was actually fueled by the missing piece of the loss of her twin that she didn’t even know existed.

Listening was a calm and serious child. He was not unhappy but instead seemed content to stay seated in his own reality, while slowly and methodically ingesting the pieces of his outer world that came to visit.

He was open and receptive to everything that was presented to him. He would wait in silence until he could hear the inner story of the people who approached him. He derived a comfort from his skill of waiting, observing and receiving his world until he could hear the underlying truth that would slowly bubble to the surface and deliver its true message.

He had the ability to remain unaffected by the often-incoherent cacophony of words, disjointed thoughts and unexpressed feelings that swirled around the outer ridges of seemingly innocent conversations. He learned very early to stay firmly rooted in his own reality. In this way, he could avoid the dangerous experience of being carried off into the unfamiliar territory beyond his own ability to make sense of anything other than his own safe and contained personal world.

It was exhausting to try to get meaning from the random thoughts, feelings and disjointed energies that many people seemed to use in an attempt to appear far more secure and confident than they actually were.

Listening was unaware that his ability to hear the deeper messages of others was birthed as a result of being physically separated from his other half. He had no conscious memory of the event and no knowledge of his sister. Nonetheless, the separation permeated his core with an alarm so great that he was instantly gifted with an understanding and tolerance for the hidden heart hurts and silenced screams of the profound losses that reside below the surface where the missing pieces live.

I realize this seems like a sad story because the chances of talking and listening ever being reunited is, frankly, very slim. Maybe though, we can salvage this story by allowing it to open some deeper questions for ourselves.

Let me ask: Which twin do you most resemble? Do you use talking to over-reach for others? Do you attempt to manufacture a connection and intimacy with others that yields very little satisfaction for the effort that you expend?

Do you use listening as a way to keep your world predictable and safe from heart risks? Is listening a way to avoid extending yourself for fear that the undiscovered parts of your hidden self might begin to surface? Do you attempt to control your world by over-talking or over-listening?

Would it be worth it to embrace right use of both talking and listening so that separated parts of you can be united?

Right use of talking allows us to extend ourselves to others and reach out to connect and include others in our world. Right use of listening requires that we seat ourselves solidly in our inner core while staying present to receive and accept the deeper messages of others.

When we exercise the muscles of intentional talking and listening, we begin the process of courting real intimacy into our lives. Sincerely speaking your truth and geniune willingness to receive the thoughts and feelings of others is the way to heal breaks in our core connections to those we love.


Susan is a local author of the emotional resource book, “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Learn more at beyondintellect.com



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