Not everyone wants to hear what you think, but everyone wants to feel heard.

When shame, guilt and anxiety fuels isolation, the purpose of human connection and relationships should be to create a safe place for vulnerability, a place that is free from judgement.

But when people open up, we often feel like our advice needs to be heard. While that’s human nature, we often don’t realize that our “advice” may have become an outlet for us to criticise or to boast of the times we thrived and survived ( we call this motivation ! 🙈 ).

When you listen, it’s never about you.  It’s about them.

Don’t get me wrong, advice should be given when it’s needed. But if we listen with the intent to reply, then we are not being present. And if we’re not present, how would we understand what is needed?

Here a poem based on the discussion:

We live in an age that encourages expression
But few are those whom are still to listen.

You’re rich with experiences and good intentions
But do you listen with compassion, or to plan instructions?
Your profound advice is for a different situation
Don’t let the tales of your past assume definitions.

The art of listening isn’t tied to an advice
You’re eloquent in speech but it’s infused with pride
How can you see reality when ignorance has made you blind?
You’re deceived with the illusion that you have an open mind.

Listen into people’s eyes, you’ll get a peek into their lives
Listen to understand and don’t rush to reply
Silent attention can calm worries and rage
A sincere embrace heals more than a quotable phrase.

As we live in an age that encourages expression
Let us listen with love and nullify judgement.

‘My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires.’ (James 1: 19-20)

If you truly care for someone, you would want to meet their needs. And sometimes what they really need is just the comforting assurance that you’re there for them.

Cause at the end of the day, this is their journey.  You may help them to decide and rationalise, but you’re not the solution.  Your goal should be to support, to walk alongside and to point them to the unfailing source of refuge and strength.

Try this – the next time you want to help a friend, say this little prayer.

” Lord, help me to lay aside my judgements and urge to criticise.  Help me to look at them through your loving eyes, for even you don’t look at us with condemnation. Help me to let go of my opinion, so that I can give them a piece of Your mind. “

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