Today i want to talk about quite simplistic but something that is amazing easy to do which can help other people quite often, that is the power to simply listen to people. Sounds pretty plain and easy doesn’t it? But listening has its power to, it shows a great deal of empathy towards the person you are sat down listening to. We don’t just listen to hear, to take in or to learn something new, we also listen to make the other person feel better.
There are times as a parent, guardian, mentor or coach where people come to you with a problem, they may be sad or angry, they may complain or be frustrated, this concern of theirs does become apparent to you and at some point their troubles then feel likes yours. You think it then becomes your job, of course you want to solve someone else’s problem. You want to help fix the person or fix the problem for the person however it is very rare that you actually need to do this, you do not need to fix a person or the problem they are having in majority of cases.
Instead listening to someone going through a tough time or someone with a concern helps them to feel ‘understood’ and this helps them to feel better, to get it off their chest is actually more important than you telling them “stop it, you are fine” OR “I don’t want to hear it” OR “well if you do this then you will be cool”.
While such advice may actually be good and logically it seems it is the best way to address the problem and help the person with the concern when someone is feeling whatever they are feeling it is a moment they are getting through, this moment must be understood and listened to more than shoving it to one side and saying you can fix it. A person sometimes wishes to be heard, to felt that their problem is shared by others, that you understand their concern, this helps them feel less alone. A person with this type of concern isn’t going to move forward from it any faster by giving simple fix it answers, sometimes the person must be listened to so that they can thank you for your time listening to them.
This is one way you can compassionate without really trying hard, its not difficult, just listen! As the person who looks over this person you may feel its your problem and indeed it is your job to solve it however think of it is a long term problem and not a short term one that is easily overcome, what someone else feels is not the same us, of course this is because when two people are at different stages one may not understand it how you understand it.
In reality the real compassion comes from understanding others and helping them get through their problems rather than becoming mr or mrs fix it, a person who is not listened to is going to feel like the other person doesn’t care. Don’t solve something that can’t be solved in a flash, instead just listen.
Most of the time people who come to you with a problem, whether its work related or personal aren’t actually asking for help, they are simply asking to be heard. They do this because they need to get through the moment rather than get rid of it. Getting rid of it only comes from their own power of choice and effort. What we can do is guide them but sometimes listening is much easier and much better, why does someone want us to tell them what to do when they are feeling horrible?
You can help people get through their problems and concerns without doing the owning of the situation yourself, the simple thing is to listen and understand what they are going through, only help them if they ask for it. Sometimes telling someone to do this or that to help actually puts them off doing it, sometimes advice is useless, but more importantly many people just want to be heard, to know that someone cares and they are not the only one with problems.
A new term called ‘Compassionate Emptiness’ is used to describe someone who simply listens more instead of finding solutions to cure the problem. There is a level of trust in listening to others and they feel more of a bond to you, it takes practice but it comes in handy for people who would rather let off steam and troubles to someone they feel can understand them, this does not make them egotistical unless they like talking about themselves all the time but this is addressed only to people who need the listening figure to help them get through it slowly but surely.
Most of growth, maturity, the process is most of our doing, we can give advice and take it but looking back ask yourself does someone giving you advice make you wonder if the persons advice was right at the time? Did you ever feel like you were never listened to by others? Was this problem shifted under the carpet?
Practice learning to listen more, it also helps you to not speak too much or over the person, every time a person speaks or gets something out it is making them feel better. But to talk over the person or their concern can make the other person feel it is unimportant to you and thus feel owned by you, a sense of freedom comes from speech and talking about it.
~ Jay Rando