Genuine Listening!

I did a presentation some time back for a cancer group. I started by saying: “If I say to you I know and understand your pain, I will be lying to you. The truth is I don’t. I do not have cancer and do not know how it feels to have cancer. So help me understand how you feel and what your biggest challenges are?”

The group responded by expressing thoughts like:

“Why me?”
“I feel a loss of control.”
“I’m angry.”
“I’m afraid.”
“It is not fair.”
“No one understands our pain.”
“My family is tired of me.”

I tried to listen with my eyes, ears, heart, undivided attention, and without judgement. Then we tried to discuss their challenges the best we could.

The fact that I took to the time to ask and be attentive to the group’s sentiments the participants felt their feelings were valued, and thus responded well to the discussion.
It was an important lesson for me: Genuine listening is more than half the solution!

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