As a caregiver, it’s easy to get caught up in your own problems and miss seeing someone else’s. That’s a trap you don’t want to fall into. It’s just an invitation to your own personal pity party. Sure, you need to talk to people about what’s happening, but there comes a time when you’ve talked too much. Then it’s time to listen. One of the easiest ways to encourage a friend is by listening. Ask them how they are doing. How is their family? It’s likely that they have something difficult happening in their life, as well, and could use a listening ear.
Often people hesitate to share their troubles
It’s common for people to feel uncomfortable sharing the difficult things they are going through. They compare their marital troubles or financial stress to your spouse’s cancer and minimize their own situation. It’s unfortunate that they don’t feel like they can share. It’s important for you and them to recognize that their problem is just as important as anyone else’s. Listening to them share can be a reminder that everyone is going through something.
Listening gives you a sense of worth, as well. You can’t change what your friend is going through, but you can lift their spirits just by opening your heart to them.
A TED Talk
In 2006, Robert Thurman gave an excellent TED Talk about this called, We Can Be Buddahs. I must preface it by saying that I am not advocating Buddhism, but there is a lot that we can learn from their knowledge people as individuals and as a collective. This TED Talk is a bit long but does an excellent job of expressing the importance of listening to others.
Listening is best done in Person.
Listening is more than hearing. It involves your whole body. The person you are listening knows that they are important by your body language, the way you lean in as they tell you what’s on their heart and mind. They can feel your concern in the way you make eye contact with them. You will be there to hand them a tissue if they feel safe enough to shed a few (or a lot of) tears.
Communication is clearer in person. So if it’s at all possible, set aside a couple of hours to meet your friend for coffee or for lunch.
Once again I will be doing double duty in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I will be sharing ways to avoid burnout, here at Facing Cancer with Grace. At Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways of thinking creatively, using Brainsparker’s Kickstart Course of A to Z prompts. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites.
Who will you listen to this week?
What Are Your Thoughts?
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In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:
I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker