Sometimes All You Are Required to Do Is Listen — NOT To Fix

Your presence is just what they need.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

We all purpose to add value to the different kinds of relationships we grow into, as we go along life.

We all try our very best to add meaning to, and derive meaning from, the relationships we are a part of.

However, in the process of trying to be our most helpful versions to those we love and care for, it is possible (albeit unintentionally) for us to lose clarity on what is required of us;

Being our most helpful version to those we love and care for (or anyone in general) should be rooted in what kind of help they need from us;

And not in what kind of help we “assume” is right of us to offer.

When it comes to being of help to others, it should never be about us — and should always be about them.

Focusing our energy on what the other person truly needs from us, applies to any and every kind of relationship in life — family, friends, romantic, professional, and any other kind that exists.

It is useful to remind ourselves that when people to choose to share something with us — particularly in the context of having difficulty in navigating through any aspect of life — it is not a right we have earned;

It is a privilege we have gained — and our sole responsibility is to respect that privilege.

It is one of the most convenient things in the world to rush to find solutions when we are presented with their problems;

But is that the help they really need from us?

Or is it something we do so that “we can feel” like we have solved something?

It comes naturally to us, to assume that when people share their stories, we ought to fix — when the greatest comfort we can provide to them in that moment, is simply our undivided attention in hearing them out.

Our innate desire to fix things for people, is especially true for people we deeply care about — a family member, a close friend, a partner — and this can be more unproductive than otherwise if we don’t wake up to the fact that it is for them to guide us (and not the other way around) on what they want from us — to listen or to fix.

If the situation and relationship allow you to ask — then ask them — if they need to you to simply hear them out, or if they want you to help them find solutions;

Not only will this clarity help you to redirect your attention on what they need, but it will also help them understand better what they truly need (and want).

If the situation and relationship doesn’t allow you to ask for that clarity — just listen until (if at all) they voice out their need for a solution or advice;

But until they do or even if they don’t voice out — don’t default to think that you have been told something only to help fix it.

Sometimes (perhaps every time), our greatest gift to another person could be the simplest of things — our time, attention, patience, and presence — and not overwhelming fixes to the information they chose to share with us.

When we choose to focus our attention on what another person needs from us, we also choose to stop being fixated on what “we think” they might need from us — and can then begin to put in the work at exactly what they need from us.

The thought to fix something or provide advice comes naturally to us, and it is not our fault that that’s how we end up thinking about things;

But it is right to take a step back, and allow the other person to guide us on what we need to do, as opposed to being blindly guided by our natural instincts.

Your presence is just what they need — no more — and certainly no less.

As much as we’d like to shower people with everything we can;

Sometimes, it’s not about what we can;

It’s more about what we should.

When you practise to listen, merely to listen — and not to fix — you can begin to be present for anyone as the most helpful version of yourself, right then and there.




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Chandrika Bhattacharya

Chandrika Bhattacharya

I read to learn, grow, and evolve. I write to share thoughts on transforming into better versions of ourselves.

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