Often when a friend or loved one has a problem about something or has an issue to talk about, we feel as though we need to fix it and find a solution.
It is a natural reaction I suppose – we are usually inclined to want to help make things better for those we care about.
It has been my experience both as the one with the problem and as the one listening to the problem, that being on the other end as a listener is often enough.
For the person with the problem, being heard and given a platform to vent and hear themselves talk can many times help them find ways to help themselves.
Allowing someone to hear themselves and feel heard can work wonders in their process of figuring things out. Validating someone’s pain and confusion is so very important. Responses such as:
I hear you
That must be difficult
I can’t imagine that is easy for you
I’m so sorry about that
That must not have made you feel very good
It’s not fun to feel________________
etc. can serve as healing words to soften the edges of a problem.
This is especially true with children. As a teacher, I can’t tell you how many times I have been able to calm a child just by listening to them. Many a tear has stopped falling when they know someone who cares is hearing them.
People, big and small, just want to be heard and not feel alone. Be that soft ear for your fellow human.
Just be there to listen…you are helping more than you think.