Dear Marcy,

Of all the things I learned this past year, this one is the most important, and took me the longest to hear. Ironically, I have been trying to be heard for years, but couldn't hear the answer to my problem. I've been trying to find my voice, use my voice, and make people listen to me. I've been trying to be HEARD and UNDERSTOOD.

Someone please listen to me!

As an introvert (YES, I AM AN INTROVERT!!!), I usually only speak up when I think it is REALLY important, or I truly believe I know the answer. There was a lot more going on here, like self-esteem issues, lack of knowledge, lack of social skills, etc.. I only felt comfortable talking about things where I know I am the expert. It takes TIME to become an expert, and I only felt like I reached it in my professional life a few years ago. It really bothers me when people talk talk talk about things they obviously don't know much about. Or they just make stuff up, lie or embellish. This is why I'm not the best salesperson, I like to tell it like it is. I know you are thinking, "but you speak out all the time"!! I do with people I know well, but I am not very good at delivering the message or speaking up in uncomfortable situations.

So, I was sick of not being heard, and I realized with some help that I needed to find my voice and use it. In an effort to be heard, I started talking more. Speaking up. Speaking my mind. Saying things that I usually would bottle up. You can imagine how this was received at times, given that I didn't hold back, or didn't use the right tone or words. I hurt people. I let it all hang out. I was like a toddler in the talking department, just talking over people, interrupting, trying to be HEARD, DAMMIT!!!!! Just using my voice without proper words, tone, timing, etc. does more damage and ensure that people REALLY won't listen! Oops!

Writing this I am realizing all the things that held me back. I am only looking at things from my limited perspective. I am judging others for being different than me. I am not talking with any finesse. But, most importantly?

I am not listening.

In order to be heard, you must first listen. 

I got this message many times, from many different people in my life over the last few years. But I wasn't listening. I started getting the message after the election. I don't think this happened to inform me, but to inform all of us that we are all just talking and not really listening. There are obviously a lot of hurting people out there feeling left behind to influence the outcome of the election. I think a lot more dark days are ahead on this matter, but that is a completely separate story.  Now, back to me!! 

To be completely honest, it took getting yelled at by someone that I am not particularly close to personally to get the message. It hurt so much to hear. But, I needed it to hurt to pay attention. 

So, I will be trying harder to listen and understand. I pride myself on being an empathic person, but if I don't listen more, it is hard to have empathy. I will also be spending some time learning how to use my voice in a more diplomatic and kind way. Because I do want to be honest and speak my mind too. But, I promise to listen too.

So, if you are trying hard to be heard, try another approach. LISTEN. Then, when you truly understand the other person, take your turn to speak your truth with kindness.

I promise to listen better, really listen and understand you and everyone else. 

Thanks so much for listening!!

Katrina xo

About the Artwork

"Oh Wow", by Katrina Berlin Benco.

This is an acrylic painting on Linen. The linen is a dark beige color which totally changes the feeling of the painting - gives it more texture and warmth. I love painting on linen, but it is more expensive so I don't do it often. I called this painting "Oh wow", because this is something my hubby says to me. I LOVE to hear this from him because it tells me he is really wowed or impressed. I think that is important to me because he is so important to me and I care what he thinks. And, it is kind of hard to impress him sometimes. ;-D I think this painting is pretty unexpected - even though it is my typical color scheme.  The combination of intense dark tones combined with more muted complementary colors in these bold shapes and arches just really stands out. I took the painting and put it in a mirror repeat to really compound the effect. I think it says HEY, LOOK AT ME!!! Over here! Please listen! Everyone just wants to be seen and heard, right?


Buy framed print of Oh Wow

Oh Wow by Katrina Berlin Benco

Oh Wow by Katrina Berlin Benco

Listen Tank Top

Music "WOW" by Beck

Here's a song to listen to called WOW by Beck. He says LIKE WOW, and then OH WOW. Love it! I am always inspired by music when painting, but in this case, i discovered the song after the painting, but I think it complements it well.