THE POWER OF LISTENING
I’m a therapist…..I have to be a good listener, it’s part of the job description!!
What leads men and women to become therapists I wonder? I mean lets be honest, not many 15/16 year olds go into the careers advisor and say I want to become a therapist! Is it something that requires some life experience perhaps? Is it a profession that requires therapists are ‘healed’ ourselves? Do we have to have everything sorted ourselves?
I did read a lovely quote recently that said “healed people, heal others”
Part of me knows this to be true but, I don’t believe that it is an absolute prerequisite for the profession. What I do however, believe to be absolutely essential in any therapist, is the ability to LISTEN.
Reflecting back, I wondered why I love listening to others. I’m far more in my comfort zone listening to others than talking about myself, which is a childhood programming I’m very aware of and work hard on changing everyday, in order to ‘promote’ my business and services online. But WHY?!
I grew up in environment where I was the youngest. Always the youngest.
My brother is 5 years older than me and much of my time was spent around older boys (not like it sounds!!) or as he gained his independence, with adults. The environment was very much
“children are seen and not heard”
A childhood programme that still runs in me now very happily if I don’t quite firmly stand on its head and tell it to get lost! No wonder I hate marketing myself!
I spent hours and hours of my childhood and teenage years listening. I guess looking back I was always destined to become a therapist!
I LOVE listening. I am fascinated with peoples' stories. Particularly how they got where they are? Why they are like they are? Where their lives have led them. What lessons have they learnt along the way? It all fascinates me.
Listening is such an underrated and under used skill. We seem to feel the need to be louder and more vocal than ever before. Why?
I call it a skill because it is just that!
* The skill to make someone feel comfortable
* To prompt with the right questions when things become a little less flowing
* To engage in an appropriate manner
*Use the right language needed depending on the person
*To not stop and look at your phone mid conversation
The skills needed to ‘just’ listen are endless.
But oh my word LISTENING IS SO WONDERFUL!
THE GREATEST LESSONS I HAVE EVER LEARNT HAVE COME FROM LISTENING
My utmost respect and admiration for the RNLI has always been paramount but, was firmly cemented several years ago when chatting to a 90 year old former member of the North Norfolk RNLI. His eyes filled with tears when telling me about one particular incident where they had had to recover the body of a young girl they had been searching for. It happened when I was a very young child, sat on that same beach….my parents remember it vividly. Decades on, the effects of that incident were just as real as the day it happened. Listening to this wonderful man taught me so much about humanity. Thank you RNLI from the bottom of my heart.
Sandi Marshall challenged me to carry out 7 acts of kindness recently. One of my acts of kindness was to call a friend of my parents who I hadn't seen for 7+ years. Dorothy is 82, a widower, nearly blind, no internet or technology except for a TV and radio and living miles away from most of her family. Pretty lonely times.
“Hello Dot, guess who this is?”
The familiarity of it, affection in it, the history in it…….it warmed my heart!
We were on chatting for ages, catching up on all those years. Dot was really chuffed that I’d rung and I think it broke up yet another endless day for her. BUT, you know what? IT DID ME THE WORLD OF GOOD TOO!
She made me laugh, really laugh and I found out a few things that I didn’t know either. It nourished me just as much as it nourished her! I didn’t say much, I didn’t need to. Listening had nourished me. Thank you Dot.
Every year just after Christmas my family and I all meet up in a hotel down in Cornwall. It’s been a tradition now for a few years and we have 3 days together where no one cooks, cleans, nothing. Just relaxing and having fun together. It’s a very upmarket hotel and as it’s only once a year we all treat ourselves!
It’s so upmarket that it even has a doorman. No need to open the door for yourself, there’s someone that does it for you.
Except he’s not just someone……he is Barry.
I don’t know how old Barry is but, I’m guessing near or past retirement age. He is always immaculately dressed and extremely polite.
One of the first years we went I was waiting in Reception for everyone to arrive and I got chatting to Barry. I asked him a few questions about himself and oh my goodness….what a fascinating story he had to tell. He had been a musician in the military and had literally travelled all over the world. The stories he had were incredible. I could’ve listened to him for hours! I did suggest he write a book but he just laughed. One of the highlights for me going down every year is not just seeing my family but seeing Barry too. I could so easily have missed that lovely connection if I hadn’t asked a question or two and listened. Thank you Barry.
I guess what I’m trying to say is we can learn so much by listening.
Listening to those that aren’t shouting the loudest
Aren’t shouting using the most sophisticated social media
Aren’t shouting all about themselves.
Those that perhaps might be sat quietly in the corner of a care home, might be serving you a cup of coffee, might be sat in a shop doorway.
Never underestimate THE POWER OF LISTENING