STOP! Look and listen…
by Mary Therese Encina
Experiences give the best learning in life, thus giving anyone, more or less, the idea of the difference between hearing and undergoing the reality of it.
One advantage of learning something from experience is being able to understand people who might share a similar experience. It could be a great comfort to confide with a person you know would be able to know how it feels like to get hurt or feel so much trouble in your life. The only problem is when the person you thought would be good enough for you to confide things with ends up failing to really understanding you at all.
You were just trying to help because you think you have already understood what that person has gone through. So you keep on talking, telling that person how miserable your experience was and that you know just what to do and how get rid of it. You think you’re going to be of great help, but no. You just became another false hope.
STOP talking. LOOK, it’s not really what you think that person is trying to say. How would you know that what he/she’s worrying about is like yours? What if the problem is not about that person’s boyfriend, or cousin, professor or classmate? What if the problem is about him/herself?
LISTEN, that person did not come to seek for your opinion of “if I were you” or “believe me, I really understand you”. He/she wanted to be heard, be listened to and if advice is requested, seek first to understand so that you will be understood. Don’t come and fret about the tiny pieces of information you heard because fragments don’t really create the whole story.
Bits of his/her story may sound like the experience you’ve been through, but not the whole context. If you keep on fretting and not stopping to listen to that person, you might even have given him/her just another burden–making him/her believe that nobody might understand at all.
It is the “hero” in us that gives us the tendency to soar up in the sky and solve people’s problems even before we understand what the problem is. How would you really know if the problem is the bridge that’s about to collapse, or the old woman crossing it if you weren’t really listening to the person asking for help? You went for the woman instead, and then boom! You know what happened.
There is a proverb that says, “Listen, or thy tongue will make thee deaf.” There is a need in every person, and that is to be understood. If you want people to understand you, learn to understand them. If things go wrong, the problem might not be because the person you were talking to did not understand you but rather, you did not know how to listen.
Listen first. Talk second. That’s how a good communication goes.