Sunday, November 8, 2009

Closing the Mouth & Opening the Ears to See the Heart

At some point in time, all of us face a moment of critical peril, where everything we know and cherish is put up against the fire. Having both seen people in this state and visited this place many times, one thing is always clear: the thing most needed isn't advice or being told where to go next. but to know that someone is there to simply sit and listen. Though I've known this well for many years, it's something I still relearn in new ways each time I come across someone in their hour of need. Truly understanding someone does not mean reading through information they may have put up here and there, then using that as a base for your actions; that information is static and can quickly become irrelevant as a person goes through their day and discovers things that could very well change their life. On the contrary, the best way one can understand another is to let the person simply tell it to you as they see it, and then seeing their world through their eyes.

Whether it's between a Psychologist and their patient or a child speaking to their parent, the most essential element to aiding the emergence and growth of the person during these times is trust. With it there the person feels they can communicate more freely and entrust them with the core of what troubles them, where then there may be a chance to show them something better or help them better understand themselves. The opposite of this occurs when that's broken either by telling others about it without consent, or not listening to them and merely spouting off random bits of wisdom in an attempt to guide them through hard times, both of which erode the rapport built up and break down lines of communication. No one ever likes to be judged or be treated like a machine can be fixed by approaching the issue in a prescribed manner learned through books and training, and doing so only further alienates people from one another. What people value most are those who would give them the opportunity to speak without being interrupted or judged, then, through understanding and careful guidance, being granted the tools need so they can do it on their own, and craft their own path.

These things are never easy for others to learn, and I frequently encounter new subtleties and variations to these age old ways. With that said, even the attempt to do such things lets other people how much you regard them, and grants them a greater measure of worth as a human being, something many of us needs reminders of now and again. Books have been, and will continue to be written about how to help people and what they should do about their concerns, however even the best of those can only offer basic advice to others about their specific troubles and concerns. There will never be a one size fits all solution to every person's individual issue, but through listening we can come to better know the person and how to best help them approach the situation. Listen to the person and be curious about the person and their concerns; don't tell them 'I'm listening' show them. In that, the process of healing and understanding can truly take place and begin to blossom in the hearts and minds of those involved

1 comment:

  1. Eloquently put, and definitely something that we all need to be reminded of from time to time.