You know, my wife is truly amazing. Being with her helps me to see the world in a different way. So, here I am, The Happy Therapist, going into Harmon’s Grocery Store (the one on 33rd South near Bangerter Highway) in search of an appetizer our monthly dinner with friends. Not far inside the store is, what I call, the “cheese island” – that donut shaped kiosk where they sell all the special cheeses (and some meats). I honestly thought the blokes behind those particular counters were just there to answer a few simple questions, like “Where’s the brie?” Little did I know that Danny was a fountain of culinary knowledge. I probably would have gone right on thinking that too – if it were not for my wife. She took a salami sample and began asking Danny very intelligent questions, such as what was so special about the salami that made it more expensive. Danny poured forth this knowledge about the salami, giving us a first hand account of his conversation with its local maker – complete with how he immigrated from Europe and struggled to get the appropriate authorities to give him a liquor license (though the man would not be serving alcohol) that he may make his salami in just the right manner. Further, in the 20 minutes we spent with Danny he educated us about cheese (and where it gets it’s flavor) and what wine goes best with what dish. Danny was mindful about pushing unwanted knowledge on my wife but with a genuine curiosity and thirst for knowledge, she asked more questions, drinking deeply from the fountain of knowledge.
As I watched my wife talking to Danny, I realized that all of us want to be useful. All of us want to feel like we have something special to give. I educate about Happiness. Danny educates about cheese. I love teaching Happiness 101. It fulfills a special place inside of me that has a something exciting to share and without another (genuinely interested) person to share that knowledge with, I think it would feel like being thirsty but never being able to quench that thirst. So, I believe it is for Danny. He knows as much about cheese as I know about Happiness. My wife took the time to stop and not merely SEEM interested or get her needed information and be on her way, but a true interest. I think that made Danny feel very good. I might even go so far as to say it might have made his day. ‘Much as it makes my day (or my week) to teach the science of Happiness to people who are hungry for it.
I tell you this story because I hope you will remember that people in your life want to be heard – REALLY heard. Not just a token effort. Think about it. Have you REALLY listened to your spouse lately? Do you know what’s in their heart? How about your children? Do you know what they are worried about? Did you listen to your friend the last time you met – or did you merely wait your turn to talk so you could talk about what’s going on with you? What about your parents? There’s a line in a song by Mike and the Mechanics called “The Living Years” – “You can listen as well as you hear.” Please. LISTEN. TODAY.
Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist