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Ever feel panic when someone needs your help emotionally? Fear not – all you have to do is shut up and listen.Tweet
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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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.
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“Together we can make it better”Jonathan Arenburg.