Day 127: Lead the afflicted and addicted…

Chet opens today’s BBTL book entry with two CCD statements of fact: 

Humans do not hear well when hurting. 

Humans listen to one voice above all others—their own.

Yet, most of us can’t resist quickly jumping in with judgement and advice.  NOT. GOOD.  

Picture this scene.  Someone you care about is struggling or hurting.  You know them well enough to know the general cause of their pain.  So, from your sound vantage point, you quickly sum up their situation and start offering words of wisdom and advice.  You’re only trying to help, but they don’t take it that way. The next thing you know, your attempt to help has as only added to their hurt.  NOT. GOOD.  

I’ve been guilty of this.  I still am.  I see someone hurting and the optimistic MacGyver in me rushes to share the silver linings and find the fixes.  I think I’m helping.  I am NOT helping.  And the irony of ironies is that I myself react HORRIBLY to unsolicited advice.  While I’m usually quick to ask for advice, if I haven’t invited it, look out.  NOT. GOOD. 

If you truly want to help the hurting, there is a better way.  Chet has written beautifully about this.  Here’s the melody line I heard as the better way.  

  Be with. 

  Be curious.  

  Be patient. 

Start by simply being with.  Listen.  Lend an ear, not advice.  Ask curious questions to better understand their pain, not judge or fix it.  And be patient.  Give them time to share their feelings uninterrupted.  After all, we all crave to be understood and nobody, I mean NOBODY, wants to hear from the Shell Answer Man when they’re hurting. 

Resisting the temptation to judge and advise is hard.  Listening, really listening is hard. And patiently allowing someone who’s hurting to slowly discover their own way forward is hard. But it’s most often the best help you can give them.  

Remember…

Humans do not hear well when hurting. 

Humans listen to one voice above all others—their own.

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