Shut Up and Listen.

Ever feel panic when someone needs your help emotionally? Fear not – all you have to do is shut up and listen.

Jonathan Arenburg
Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan is a mental health blogger, published author, and speaker. He has appeared in numerous newspapers and has been a guest on many podcasts.

Main photo credit Listening vector created by macrovector –

My run-through life isn’t unlike that of the rest of humanity. Like you, I have had many roadblocks stop me in my tracks. And like you, I have had long periods of sustained joy. While we all experience certain things as a collective – like that of a fingerprint – our roads to mental wellness are unique to each of us.

Because our experiences are all different, we need to understand that the use of the phrase, “I got over it, therefore, you can too,” is mythical. From my point of view, it’s a silly thing to say. Why? Well, because it’s simply dismissive and does nothing to help resolve the sufferer of their pain.

In fact, one’s choice to use dismissive statements only makes things worse. What’s the greatest damage inflicted? Isolation, a sense of “no one cares.” We humans, we tend to turn inward after interactions like this. See, not helpful.

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Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness the book - Anchor Points - Lonely - 4 fundamentals for authentic love
Take a trip down my mental wellness road and find yourself as you learn to overcome your own life-long battle with mental illness. Lonely – 4 fundamentals for authentic love

Once you lose someone because you chose to let them stew in their troubles, it’s very difficult to win them back. While it’s true many don’t have the skill sets to discuss things on an emotional level, we can, however, shut up and listen.

Admittedly, the art of listening is also a skill set that requires practice. However, it’s a heck of a lot easier then learning the skills of a trained psychotherapist. Not only is it easier, it’s just what the sufferer ordered. “To be heard” is huge!

Firstly, it prevents isolation, a move that stalls efforts to move forward and gives a person the feeling that they matter. Finding it super-awkward to take on what someone has to say? That’s understandable. Fortunately, there are ways to work past it.

For instance, try being honest with the person who is seeking to talk to you. Remember, if they are coming to you, that means they trust you. A huge honor and a great opportunity to make a difference. Start off by saying, “I’m not very good at talking about emotional stuff, but I can listen.”

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Oftentimes, people just need to vent and get talking about things to work it out for themselves. I myself will seek the ears of another person so I can work out what’s got me down or anxious. It really is a tremendous help.

Something equally helpful is providing logistical support. One can achieve this by asking, “What can I do to help you? Do you need a ride to an appointment?” Or “Do you need me to make a phone call for you?” If the sufferer is feeling heavy with burdens, this can be a significant boost to their mental health.

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So, in conclusion, sometimes we just must shut up and listen. That’s it, no fancy psychoanalysis, no huge amount of talking, just being present and offering a hand. After all, if we love someone, we want to see them succeed, obtain happiness and be safe.

Find more great tittles here: Mental Health Books on Amazon

  • The Road To Mental Wellness
    Welcome to the Road To Mental Wellness, a blog that I created to tell my story, a story of my long arduous battle that I have been an unwilling participant in my entire life.
  • The Mental-Health Work Injury
    Not all wounds are physical, the mental health work injury known as PTSD can be very debilitating. A reality that can take years to heal.
  • Carbon Monoxide And PTSD.
    PTSD has a away of sneaking up on you. Here I talk more about it
  • Testing The Familiar Waters
    As the depression is defeated by a good night’s slumber, I finally feel mentally well enough to start testing the waters. So, yesterday I made arrangements with a good friend to meet in a small café. After the plans were finalized,… Read More ›
  • Impending Danger Part 2
    In part one of Impending danger: Psychological shock, I talk about how my fight, flight or freeze system is always engaged because of the hypervigilance that accompanies post-traumatic stress disorder. Moreover, how it impedes me from living a full life. My… Read More ›
        The wider world around us is rich with the potential for danger and destruction – and like an animal in the wild, I am on constant high-alert. Although my fire-service years are far behind me now, they are… Read More ›

“Together we can make it better”

Jonathan Arenburg.

Categories: Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, Road To Mental Wellness-the book, Wellness Store

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