The Power of Listening - May 12, 2021

In our rush to “do something” – to “be useful” we often overlooked the most compassionate human response; simply being present with another human being and acknowledging their pain and frustration.

Posted
May 14, 2021
Book open with lights pouring out of it

The Power of Listening - May 12, 2021

In our rush to “do something” – to “be useful” we often overlooked the most compassionate human response; simply being present with another human being and acknowledging their pain and frustration.

Posted
May 14, 2021

People start to heal the moment they feel heard.-- Cheryl Richardson

JFS Friends – 

Margaret Wheatley, an American writer and management consultant, says:

       “Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else.

       We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise.

       We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.”

One of my early mentors in my career was a psychiatrist who used to say, “Don’t just do something – sit there.” His point was that in our rush to “do something” – to “be useful” we often overlooked the most compassionate human response; simply being present with another human being  and acknowledging their pain and frustration. “Sitting there” – especially in today’s world that focuses on multi-tasking and productivity – is an active act of generosity and compassion.

This concept can be found in the Jewish tradition of sitting Shivah – mourners sit in their home and friends and family come to “sit” with them and experience their grief together in community.

As we work with our clients to help them overcome life’s challenges I think it is important to remember that, in addition to providing tangible resources or helping discover solutions to problems, sometimes slowing down long enough to really listen – not just wait for someone to finish talking so we can jump in and say something – but real…deep…patient…listening… is itself an act of healing. It is also important to remember that we don’t need to have all of the answers to be useful, helpful or compassionate; sometimes we can just walk along the journey with someone in pain so they are not alone.

Well, that’s what I think.

Thanks for listening,

Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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