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I'm all ears. Saturday August 10, 2013

A friend lifts up his/her chair, moves it closer to you, leans forward and declares: 'Right, I'm all ears'. They then proceed to listen attentively and empathetically. How do you feel? Is it not like soothing balm on aggravated skin?

Given that we have two ears and just one mouth there really ought to be double the amount of listening going on. Can you name the five different types of listening? Empathetic, attentive, selective, pretending, ignore. What kind of a listener are you?

I remember reading an article that quoted Job 6:3 where it says that Job, because of his disappointment and sadness in life uttered "wild talk". I am infinitely grateful to the counselors over the years who have allowed me my "wild talk" when I've been depressed and distressed. They have not said things like: "You shouldn't feel like that!" They have not shown shock or disappointment or tried to 'fix me'. They have simply listened attentively allowing me to feel. This has given fluidity to the feelings which allows them to pass and move on, just like a leaf floating down stream.

Honing our listening skills is not only medicinal to those feeling heard but it actually lessens our stress levels too. Why? Because we don't feel we have to find magic words, perfect advice or ideal solution.

I once drew a big ear walking on short legs with the those 3 golden little words protruding from its mouth: "I'm all ears." (don't ask me where an ears mouth is). So, the next time someone starts opening up to you, maybe imagine that you are one big ear!

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

http://moodscope.blogspot.com/2013/08/im-all-ears.html


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Comments

Anonymous Sat, Aug 10th 2013 @ 7:20am

Thank you Suzy. I very much like your interpretation of what a good listener and good counsellors enable: "This has given fluidy to the feelings which allows them to pass and move on, just like a leaf floating down stream". Very visual and memorable. You have made my day!

Anonymous Sat, Aug 10th 2013 @ 10:31am

Well meaning, but too preachy.

Sally Sat, Aug 10th 2013 @ 10:43am

Hi Suzy, spot on! I notice how much I slow down and really listen to *myself*, when I am listened to by a non-judging, kind, non-fixing friend. And in the process I get to find out what is really going on inside, not just all the surface chatter in my mind.

I get most of my experiences of that kind of listening in co-counselling sessions, where I later take my turn to listen, hopefully with the same qualities, to my co-counselling partner. It is, as we frequently remind ourselves, the most valuable skill in helping one another.

Sally

Sally Sat, Aug 10th 2013 @ 10:45am

PS I forgot to say, I meant CCI co-counselling, for more info please see http://co-counselling.info/ (There are other types of co-counselling and I wanted to be clear about which one I meant.)

Anonymous Sat, Aug 10th 2013 @ 9:50pm

Very nice post. A good listener is hard to find sometimes. Hopefully this will help us to analyze and hone our own skills in this regard.

leximckee.com Sun, Aug 11th 2013 @ 9:50am

Without being grim, I'd really like "He listened" to be part of my epitaph. What you've said here today, Suzy, is one of the greatest gifts within the reach of everyone... and it has high value because it is so rare. I tell myself to "Record//Pause" when I find I'm thinking about what I am going to say next instead of listening to the other person. This is like pushing the "record" button on a recording machine, and then "pause" for thought before I blurt out a response. It means my conversations take longer!!!

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