All of us live a life with a strong “Support System” which allows us to function smoothly and provides a sense of safety & security. One can define this support system in many ways, but most important component of this system is our “relationships” that we share with our immediate family, friends and society. From the time we are born till the moment we die, we constantly seek support from someone to feel secure. Why is it so? Why do we need a shoulder to lean for crying? Why do we need an ear to listen patiently to our grievances & sorrows to free ourselves from mental anguish? These questions need some soul searching indeed!
Today we live a fast paced life, where things happen so quickly that we hardly get time to sustain ourselves under one particular emotion. Our minds have become so fickle & unbalanced that one second we cry & one second we laugh. These psychosomatic disorders has increased the need for a strong support system. A need to have someone who can give their shoulders to cry on or a patient ear to listen. How can these two acts be considered as a valuable way to help others? Psychologists all over the world believe that listening to a distressed person relieves them from mental trauma and makes them completely light & burden free.
We all have experienced this many times that after sharing our problem with someone who sincerely cares about us, we often feel light & relaxed. At times we end up finding the best solution for our problems by just talking to a trustworthy companion. Hence by listening to someone, we can help them to become clear enough to find their own path and their own solutions to problems. There is a popular phrase in hindi that says ”jiska koi nahin uska toh khuda hai yaro”. This means that the one who has no one has God by his side. This is the core reason for the whole world to pray to One Almighty. We feel that our prayers are being heard by someone above who cares about us and loves us unconditionally & hence would answer our prayers.
Listening is an acquired skill
Majority of us are not born good listeners. Listening is an acquired skill that requires good amount of effort & attention on our part. To start with, we must make it a habit to speak less. Unless we speak less, we won’t be fit to listen to others. However, most of us would admit that we are always more interested in talking rather than listening. We need to check – when someone is talking to us, are we listening or are we busy thinking about our reply? If we are busy thinking about replying ,then we are definitely going to miss something that the person wants to say or something that they are expressing non-verbally through their body language. Sometimes we also tend to interrupt when someone is sharing their feelings with us. We often interrupt to contradict or to give our own point of view. But we forget that when we interrupt someone, that person may feel they have not been able to express what they had to say or perhaps that their point of view is not important to us. As a result they may feel disrespected and they would not open up to us & their feelings would remain within them. So the best way is “just listen” quietly and built the confidence level of the person who has invested their trust in us. Hence to truly listen to someone needs a good & strong “will power”.
Who can become a good listener
One cannot be a good listener with any kind of preconceived notions about the opposite person. If we become prejudiced against the person, whether it be through past experience with that person or for any other reason, then it would be a hindrance in the whole process and our relationship would come under a huge strain because of this lack of understanding. This is the very cause of much conflict in the world today, be it on personal level or diplomatic levels. At some level or another we all experience that we suffer badly due to our grudges and opinions from the past continuing into the present.That’s why when we see someone with whom we had a disagreement a few days ago, that feeling of revenge comes back and we start feeling uneasy talking to him or her. Under such a situation just to ‘forgive and forget’ may sound fine but is it really possible? Again it needs a big heart to do so.
The unique art of “Self Listening” offers a very simple yet effective technique to help quieten and clear our minds. The idea is to take a few moments to be still & visualize ourselves as a star-like entity in the centre of forehead & allow ourselves to slow down and experience our original innate qualities of peace, love & happiness. Practicing this technique for a few times a day can make a huge difference in our lives. It would give us a chance to create inner silence, listen to our own thoughts as they emerge & to get in touch with our true self. By listening regularly to what is going on in our mind, gives us a chance to ‘check and change’ our negative tendencies. Hence when we learn to listen to self, only then we can listen to others and naturally talk when it is necessary. So, start listening to yourself, become compassionate to others & heal the world.