This article was originally published on September 28, 2018 and can be viewed at Medium.com
Have you ever been in a situation where you know someone who needs help but you did not know what to do? Well I have. I felt ashamed when I realized that all I should have done was to ask a simple question.
“Are you okay?” could have changed a life.
Listening is an art, which requires patience. It requires a physical and mental effort. Listening is caring. In this sense, a person who listens to you is one in a million. When you listen to someone, you allow them to echo their inner voice. As a listener, all you should do is be encouraging.
Tips for Listening
1.First of all make sure your body language doesn’t indicate that you are judging the speaker.
2.Next you need to know what to say and when. Following are some phrases that might come handy.
- “Oh, how come?”
- “Whoa, I wonder why that happened?”
- “I’m sorry you’re going through this”
- “I really don’t know what to say. But please continue.
3.Try not to look at your watch when you are listening.
4.Do not give advice, if you are uncertain of the situation yourself. Instead lead the speaker to a place or person who can help them.
We underestimate the value of listening. Listening to another show that they matter to us. It gives them the space to pour out their thoughts, which are bottled up and threatening their well-being. Their thoughts will stop being chaotic and will be manageable just because you listened and help them realize to differentiate between the essentials and non-essentials. Think of it as reorganizing your wardrobe. You take everything out and rearrange according to your new likes or thoughts. While doing so you may also get rid of what you do not need anymore. More organized and a fresh looking wardrobe is your aim. Such is the aim of the person who is telling speaking to you and narrating their plight.
The ‘R U OK?’ approach to listening
A suicide prevention charity in Australia known as R U OK? Provides the following approach to listening.
1. Ask R U OK
Be relaxed and help them open up by asking the proper questions. You may also need to mention a specific thing that made you to come and talk to them. It could be their behaviour or a sudden change of how they dress
- Grasp what they say seriously
- Don’t interrupt
- If they need time let them think
- If they get angry, stay calm and don’t take it personally
3. Encourage action
Help the person figure out a few things they can do to sort themselves and ask what you can do to help them. A simple hug can also be the answer to their problem. If you see its necessary encourage them to see a doctor.
4. Check in
Most of us forget to check on the person afterwards. Pop a reminder on your calendar to ring them again to see how they are doing or drop them a massage in a few days and say that you are thinking of them. A simple text message can make a huge difference if you do it the correct way.
In conclusion, when we are listened to, we feel understood, loved and at peace with ourselves.
Try and make a difference in another person’s life by simply listening with care.