So often people feel they are not in a position to do anything for someone they love. And generally there is much they can do. One thing is to listen. If the person is verbal and wants to talk, there is real value here. It can be amazing what just talking about something can do, even talking about something that it does not seem there is anything that can be done about. We are talking about the kind of listening where you are not just waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you can say what you want to say. We are talking about real, active listening, where you are jot judging or waiting to tell the person what to do and when, but just listening.
Below is a Procovery Note from pages 161 & 162 of The Power of Procovery in Healing:
Listen. Particularly with the lessening availability of therapy, being a gentle listener can be of enormous benefit. Recognize that what may seem like an emotional overreaction may instead be a rational reaction to an overwhelming set of circumstances and resulting emotions. Productive venting of what seems like irrational feelings can lead to rational action.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain, and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.”
–Henri J. M. Nouwen
Do you have a story that you would like to share, about the power of having had someone listen to you, or you listening to someone? We’d love to have you join the discussion!