DALAI LAMA said – “When you talk, you only repeat what you know; But when you listen, you learn something new.”
Listening is an art. You must have read about it but do you listen?
We do not listen, we claim to but we are far from what it actually means to listen to someone. We think we have played our part, we think we are a great listener but deep down we know we are lying to ourselves. We did not know what the other person was talking about. We give excuses like there is no time for that or I have done my job, that’s pretty much about it. Lending an ear to somebody means controlling ourselves because it requires zero judgment, no opinion, advice unless he needs it, being empathetic, and above all being there for that somebody. We have no time to listen to ourselves, how can we claim that we are good listeners. We are not!
In fact, it is said that you don’t learn much when you speak, you learn when you listen.
To initiate a conversation, you need to listen to what the other person is saying. Patience is the key element to become a good listener. A lot of conversation around mental illness revolves around listening and being there for each other but no one tells us how it works. We keep on giving advice and our opinions on why that person is feeling depressed, which makes it even worse and that person will hesitate to share what he/she is going through and you claim that you listened to him/her. What we do mostly is we listen and we tell people that they should not feel a certain way or they are overreacting to a specific situation. Deep down we are trying to calm them down but I have learned through experiences that how wrong it is actually on a larger scale. The right way is to be there for them emotionally. Emotional validation is what a person suffering from mental illness craves and only then, we will be able to listen. Let the person complete their narrative. Convey you get what happened to them from their perspective (whether you agree with that perspective or not). Not every one of us can reach this level as we are really quick to judge, that’s how our society is and this is an important reason, seeking professional help is recommended because psychologists are professional people and they have learned this “art of listening” that we talk about most often. They know how it work s.
Just remember that, without listening, speaking no longer heals. The less we speak, the more we hear.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.