You are listening, but do you hear what is being said?

11 August 2015

Listening is the art of truly helping somebody to discover their own resources for change. One of the key observations I have made in current society is the apparent lack of an approach to support each other in any process of change or decision-making.

It is so easy to give advice and raise on a pedestal above other person’s problems. When somebody says that they suffer from headache you hear people around them giving advice based on what worked for them. It often happens that the person who has the original problem has not even had the opportunity to explain their problem by the time we provide solutions. We live in a “quick fix” society where we want everything now. Many people these days lack the patience to fix things and rather choose to replace them. Sadly, this seems to reflect on our relationships and communication skills between people too. We forget that the process of being able to fully explain our situation is the key for healing.

Listening does not mean that you only hear what somebody says. You need to walk at the other person’s pace to enable them to think and talk - you cannot rush the process. You can ask clarifying questions to seek full understanding. Enable the other person to reflect on their situation, rephrasing and naming feelings and issues. The important thing is to remember that you do not need to have solutions for them, people will discover their own solutions within time and sometimes the solution is to seek professional help.

We need to remember to stop and reflect on the discussion among our groups, families and friends and ask: Do I truly hear what they are saying?



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