People don’t need fixing or lecturing. The most basic human need is to feel understood. When we are listened to we feel heard and cared about…..it allows us safety and helps us to understand ourselves better and to expand into who we really are. —Brenda Strausz
Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, making us unfold and expand.—Anonymous
Last week, I was worried about a few things going on in my life. A friend happened to call and I cried on her shoulder as I talked about my worries and concerns. I know she felt genuinely sad for my pain but instead of listening she jumped in and gave me advice on what I should do and should not do. It wasn’t advice that I needed…I longed to be heard. I hung up the phone feeling empty and alone.
I thought back to last summer when I was trying to arrange a family vacation to Mexico. It was getting more and more expensive as I checked out ocean-side lodging and flights. I began feeling almost panicky I berated myself for being indecisive, for not being wealthier, for not searching sooner. My stomach started to hurt and I was feeling queasy. In the evening I called my daughter to discuss my trip planning (and my distress) with her. Many daughters would have said something like, “Just chill out, mom, you’re making a big deal out of this”. But Jenny just listened. She gently validated my frustration and my fears. She let me talk . . . the more she listened, the more I talked and the more relief I felt as I was able to express myself fully. She asked gentle questions that helped me to see that I was creating my own chaos. A wonderful calmness came over me as I basked in the comfort of feeling not just loved but understood.
It is sad how rarely we really listen to each other. How often we rush in with advice and lectures and judgements that confuse and dis-empower I remind myself daily not to jump in and fix other people but to be a loving presence who understands the awesome power of a listening heart.
Brenda Strausz is a holistic therapist with a practice in Southfield, Michigan. She uses both conventional and alternative methods like Hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques in her practice. She believes strongly in the healing power of love and forgiveness. She can be reached through her website at: www.BrendaStrausz.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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