Pain is inevitable.
There are things in life that will cause problems, bring us down, or confuse us. And most of the time, these stressful things metamorphose into words inside us. We crave to talk about them, explain them, or at least make sense of them.
And while people might think that we need a solution, sometimes we only need someone’s undivided attention. We might be simply looking for a safe space to unleash our deepest fears and worries.
The listening party, though, may think we are looking for advice. And the truth is, it pressures us. It pressures us profoundly when someone wants to talk to us. “I need to talk,” has become terrifying, intimidating, and mystifying. Listening to people creates the illusion that we have to take action, to do something about it.
But that’s not always true.
We don’t need to have an answer for the person who is ranting. No advice, response, or solution is needed. Oftentimes, people find the answers to their problems when they verbalize them. However, we need to let them.
We need to let others communicate to us.
Talking is therapeutic and listening is a virtue. All we have to do is to let others feel and express that.
We should let others know that it’s okay to feel sad, upset, hurt, down, and worried. Blocking the emotional expression of others can be damaging and risky for them on the long-term.
We’re all a bundle of emotions, and it’s necessary to manage them. When we suppress what’s inside our head, we let the unspoken accumulate until it explodes in an unhealthy and reactive way.
Showing up for the people we love starts with validating how they feel. Nevertheless, I understand that it must be difficult for some of us to show up in the way we’re expected to. Everyone has been brought up differently and so, our ways of handling communication differ greatly from one person to another.
However, we can learn how to listen to our loved ones through adopting a few tips:
1. Don’t feel pressured to do something when someone wants to talk to you.
Most likely, whoever needs advice will ask for it. That said, don’t impose solutions unless you are asked for it.
2. Don’t panic.
Oftentimes, when we are part of the problem, we worry that the person talking will blame or confront us. But perhaps they only need support and a safe space to vent.
3. Try to listen without interruption.
Whenever you feel the need to interrupt, remember that people deserve to share their story with undivided attention.
4. Respond in a way that makes the speaker feel secure.
Use friendly responses such as, “I understand what you’re feeling,” or, “this must have been tough,” and try not to make it about you.
5. Keep an open mind.
Don’t crush the other person by adding up unnecessary arguments or oppositions.
6. Remember that we all need someone to understand us and show us support.
There’s a great sense of freedom, safety, and security in knowing that we can release our troubles without being judged, misunderstood, or disagreed with.