Are you a good listener?
It’s ‘Time To Talk Day’ today which is great encouragement to people who usually put on a brave face and feeling alone with their problems … hopefully it encourages the enormous amount of courage someone may need to find, to talk to someone.
However, how the person who they chose to talk to, LISTENS, is so so important ….it can be life changing ….even life saving
If someone chooses to talk to you, do you know how to listen? Many people listen but try and find a fix ….or say that someone they knew went through the same and they did X and now everything is fine. This really isn’t greatly helpful as it devalues what the person is going through. We are all very individual and how we interpret life events depends on our own mindset, beliefs and journey so it is highly unlikely that you will interpret how someone is feeling unless you enquire and listen to how it is for THEM ….rather than how you would feel.
The most important thing to try to offer is empathy. Empathy creates connection which is a wonderful feeling for someone with troubled thoughts or a level of despair.
I can recommend a very short film explaining empathy.
To quote some recent observations made by someone who was facing grief…
“I’ve learned that there are 4 types of people who ‘listen’
1) The first will say “At least..” in everything, hoping to cheer you up. They’re the ones that keep saying, “Look towards the future!” and “Move on!”
2) Those that don’t start to listen because they feel they won’t know what to say, so they just ignore you and hope that by the time they see you again after several months and years, you’ll be perfectly fine again. They’re the ones that don’t know how to do the healing, so they simply ask “How are you?” every time they see you, hoping that they will finally hear “good” from you.
3) Those that ‘listen’ but don’t know how to respond, so they start talking about how good their life is and obviously try too hard to make the mood light and happy, which ends up doing the opposite
4) The ones that simply listen and say things like “That is traumatic.” and “It’s okay to cry.” They try to connect and see things from the person who is talking’s perspective rather than their own.”
If you had found the courage to talk to someone about something that you found difficult, how would you like someone to listen?
Listening to someone can be the greatest gift.