Active Listening: The Key to Overcoming the “Better Than” Mentality

We’ve all experienced that feeling of thinking we know better than someone else. Whether it’s in a work meeting, a conversation with a friend, or even just the way we view society as a whole. This mindset is commonly referred to as the “Better Than” mentality, and it can be toxic not only to ourselves but also to those around us. However, there is a way to combat this way of thinking and it’s through active listening. In this article, we’ll explore what the “Better Than” mentality is, how it affects us and others, and how active listening can help us overcome it.

What is the “Better Than” Mentality?

The “Better Than” mentality is a way of thinking where individuals believe their perspective or opinion is superior to someone else’s. It can come from a place of arrogance, ignorance, or even insecurity. This mindset can manifest in various ways, such as interrupting someone mid-sentence, disregarding someone’s input in a group discussion, or dismissing someone’s beliefs or values.

It’s important to note that the “Better Than” mentality is often unconscious. People may not even realize they are engaging in this kind of behavior. However, it can still have detrimental effects on relationships and interactions with others.

How Does it Affect Us and Others?

The “Better Than” mentality can have a negative impact on both ourselves and those around us. When we believe that we are always right, we close ourselves off to learning, growth, and new perspectives. It can lead to a narrow-minded outlook on life and stifle creativity and innovation.

Additionally, when we exhibit this mentality towards others, we undermine their confidence and value. It can make them feel unheard, disrespected, and unimportant. This can harm interpersonal relationships, hinder collaboration, and create a toxic environment.

How Can Active Listening Help?

Active listening is a communication skill that involves paying full attention to the speaker, understanding what they are saying and responding in an appropriate way. It requires setting aside our own biases and judgments and focusing solely on the speaker’s message.

When we practice active listening, we create an environment where everyone’s perspective and input is valued. It helps us to be more empathetic and understanding towards others, and it encourages more open and honest communication.

Active listening is not just about hearing words; it’s about understanding the speaker’s intention and feelings behind those words. It involves asking questions, clarifying information, and summarizing the points made. This approach allows us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the speaker’s message, even if we do not agree with it.

Tips for Practicing Active Listening

Here are some tips for practicing active listening:

  1. Give your full attention to the speaker. Put your phone aside, make eye contact, and avoid any distractions.
  2. Use body language to show you are engaged in the conversation. Nodding, maintaining eye contact, and smiling can all help to show that you are actively listening.
  3. Ask open-ended questions to encourage the speaker to expand on their thoughts and ideas.
  4. Paraphrase what the speaker said to ensure you understand their message accurately.
  5. Be mindful of your own biases and judgments and try to set them aside during the conversation.
  6. Avoid interrupting the speaker and wait for them to finish before responding.
  7. Avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions.


The “Better Than” mentality is a toxic mindset that can harm both ourselves and others. Active listening is a powerful tool that can help us combat this way of thinking. By practicing active listening, we can create a more empathetic and understanding environment where everyone’s perspective and input are valued. It’s time to let go of the “Better Than” mentality and embrace active listening for a more positive and productive future.


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