We live in a culture where every expression of sensitive and personal feelings is discouraged. People usually feel uncomfortable when they have to talk to someone who is in emotional pain or distress. Most ‘feelgood’ philosophies encourage us to ‘move on’, ‘be strong’, ‘get over it’, ‘find ourselves’ or that ‘tomorrow is a brand new day, we’ll feel better’. Sometimes, even close friends or family seem uninterested in our emotional issues. We are brainwashed to always feel good, to hide our bad or sad feelings, to never talk about them.
Most people who came to my office were just simply in need of someone to listen to them. They had been ‘forced’ to keep all kinds of negative and uncomfortable feelings inside, pretending they were happy and good on the outside, but suffering greatly inside.
[quote_box_center]All our feelings have their purpose because through those we communicate with ourselves or with others. Even when their message is not clear , its about time we looked into it , discover it and make those feelings our trusted companions rather than our enemies – Dr P.Pirinou [/quote_box_center]
I have talked about it before: the way we feel about anything is a way of communicating either with others or ourselves. Unfortunately, from a small age we learn that ‘good girls don’t get angry’ so we are in some way emotionally brainwashed into being scared or even embarrassed of expressing certain feelings later on in life.
Women nowadays strive to be super moms, superwomen, strong and independent. Sensitivities, low moments, depression or any kind of weakness is not really accepted or understood. On the other hand, men are not ‘allowed’ to show some inappropriate emotions such as sadness or any kind of vulnerabilities. So, who are we then supposed to talk to about all our insecurities and emotional or psychological pain? How have we become a society or non listeners?
‘Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.’ (SkillsYouNeed)
Talking to someone who actively listens is powerful therapy. Sometimes, a good listener is all people need. Talking about negative or depressing feelings is natural and healthy. Having emotions that not always express happiness or euphoria is perfectly human.
We often refer to emotions as if they were some kind of disease, or an illness we have to overcome. ‘She is very sensitive’ or ‘he is very emotional’, are phrases which express negative attitude and thought towards the people who are defined with such unfortunate characteristics.
Labelling people this way affects how they perceive themselves, and consequently cripples the ability to express feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety and stress, to others. Most people can really benefit by talking to someone who will listen empathically, patiently and without judgement.
The truth is that none of us will ever be able to totally understand someone’s position, even if we have been through similar situations. That fact alone, though, doesn’t influence our ability to try and put ourselves in another person’s shoes. ‘If someone is confiding in you about his or her troubles, step outside yourself and imagine what it’s like to be him or her. True communication happens when people understand each other. Find common ground with the person who is speaking and do your best to see things from his or her point of view.’
From now on, every time you feel down, depressed or in emotional pain find someone to talk to. Someone who you think will listen to you without judging or attacking you. Noone should ever made to feel that talking and opening up is not allowed or appropriate. If, again, there is no one in your life like this, seek professional help – a therapist who will help you through this process.
If people you care about are in need of your listening skills and attention, then give it. Most of the times you don’t need to say much or try to find ways out that you think are right or better. You’ll be surprised to know that someone who is just there and actively listens is what most people need.
Never suffer in silence – you owe it to yourself.
[pull_quote_center]The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention- Rachel Naomi Remen[/pull_quote_center]