From others to self
Listening has always meant trying to understand the words coming out of the other person and getting to know more about it… them.
Active listening is just another level of listening. Trying to go deeper and deeper until you understand in what circumstances the other is and how you can be of help. Or just listening and hoping that at some moment, the person talking realises that he/she does have the solution to his/her problems and that it is his/her prejudice, perspective that is stopping him/her from making that move.
I learnt active listening during my time as a listener in ‘7 cups of tea’. There, people from all around the world sign up as listeners and simply listen to people, from all around the world, who come there to get help. Kind of like AA (alcohol anonymous). We listen to others, their problems, their life and empathize. Sometimes, all people want is to speak. Speak up all their anger and issues. They don’t want solutions. They just want someone to hear them out. At 7 cups, that’s what I did. I listened to people. People dealing with broken relations. People dealing with self-loathing.
Active listening is an easy task for people who actually care. But for people, who ask “How’re you?” just for formality, it can be like stopping an internal war for them. They want to interrupt, they want to change the topic, they want to make the conversation a bit fun. At least, that’s what they think.
I use this technique till now. I like to listen to people. Cause, everyone has a story of their own. You can’t decide from a smile on someones face, if he/she is at peace or if he/she just knows how to smile really good. I love to listen. It has helped me form real connection with others. It has helped me make my relationships better and stronger.
I have friends, who actively on social media share their best moments and yet have problems of over-thinking, self-hatred, self-fear, negative thought loops, zero-self-worth and what not.
Simply listening to them makes them put a halt on over-thinking. It makes them feel loved, making them love themselves. They tell their fears, you affirm, and they feel like they are not alone. You tell them that they are thinking things that are hurting them more than helping them. And there might be a million more advantages of listening.
See a problem.
Self-loathing. It is the act of talking to yourself how you would talk to a person you hate. You put tags on them. You curse them. You judge them. That’s what I find myself doing sometimes. Hating myself for the actions, hating myself for the thoughts I have.
And then, one day, instead of putting tags on myself and bitching about myself, I started asking questions, to myself. Listening, to myself.
Question, of any kind.
“A question can never be wrong. — Sadhguru Jiggi Vasudev”
And then, listening to the replies. Listening to them without any judgement. Wanting to know more. Understanding what had gone out of control? What was so haywire? Why was I here, sitting and cursing myself? I hated the time alive, obviously something had gone as not planned. Obviously, something was present that I didn’t like.
I had to know.