Carrots in My Ears
Be skeptical, but learn to listen.
—Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz from The Fifth Agreement
“I can’t hear you. I have carrots in my ears.” I forget what story that’s from but those lines stay with me. We all have carrots in our ears. We hear what we want or expect to hear. We interpret what others say according to our worldview and what we believe about ourselves and the person speaking. We do not hear what the other person is actually saying. And the other person is speaking through the lens of their world view and what they believe.
We need to hear both our own words and the words of others with a grain of salt. When we don’t accept everything another person says as absolute truth but as their truth in the moment, we don’t get hurt by their words and we don’t get sucked into their story. There’s less drama in our life and more happiness and acceptance. We don’t have to judge what they say, because we know it is true for them, even if it might not be true for us.
This final agreement from the book is not about being arrogant and asserting that only we know what is true and what isn’t. All of us tell stories. Not because we are lying to ourselves and each other but because each of us sees the world in a unique way. Our words are one of the main ways we communicate what our world looks like. So pull out the carrots and take out some salt. Now that’s a delicious story!