Listening sounds easy but is difficult.
The most difficult thing with listening is for the listener to stay out of it. We are so programmed to express ourselves and have such a need to do it. We don’t listen to what the other person is saying. Giving advice or being positive will do nothing for the speaker. The point is that the speaker wants you to accompany them to the dark and terrible place they find themselves in. This sounds counter intuitive. And it is hard and not what we want to do. We want to avoid our own feelings and everyone else’s!
The better you know the person the more difficult it can be to listen. The longer the relationship the more you feel you are enmeshed with that person and the more you do not have to listen. A lot more is unspoken.
Placating the speaker also doesn’t work. This just adds to their frustration, as placating means that you are not listening but giving the plain message that you do not want to hear their feelings.
Listening to children is very difficult because we want to comfort them. Comforting then inserting the but word with an adult reality gives a mixed message. You don’t want to eat you dinner but you must do as it’s good for you.
Listening to people who are angry is for most people the most challenging. Anger is frightening and in our culture of manners the emotion to avoid. There is a primitive sense of a potential for violence or threat of violence. But with courage and once the raw feeling is expressed then listening can return.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
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Disclaimer:This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique