There Is A Voice That Doesn’t Use Words. Listen

Frequently random strangers confide in me the most personal and sometimes shocking or distressing details of their lives in often the most unusual circumstances. Regularly someone will strike up a conversation with me at a bus stop or as a fellow passenger on a train and before long they are disclosing some of their most intimate secrets. Which makes me wonder if confession really is good for the soul and are complete strangers less judgemental than their own nearest and dearest? What courage it must take to confide in an outsider and what prevents them from having the same earnest conversation with their own kin?

Whilst I like to think I’m a good listener the truth of the matter is for my own loved ones I’m probably not as good as I should be. I was born a nurturer with a warrior’s spirit for injustice and as such I just want to help them by putting things right and easing their hurt. I have that Sagittarian outspokenness which seldom means I say the right thing at the right time but in an emergency situation as a “doer” I can be counted on to provide more practical help.

It’s taken me a very long time to learn this but people seldom want my rational kind of help they just want the sympathy of a compassionate and understanding soul for their troubled hearts. So the very next time someone divulges a secret, I’m going to switch my phone off, put the kettle on, sit on my hands and do the hardest thing in the world; shut up and really listen.

Burgh Island, Devon

Burgh Island, Devon

32 thoughts on “There Is A Voice That Doesn’t Use Words. Listen

  1. Very wise observations. I think most of us are probably “fixers” because we want someone to “fix” us. Now that I know discomfort enters our lives to point out something we need to learn, I’m much more likely to be a a loving listener………………to others……..and to myself. It’s in stillness that we learn the secrets to our soul.

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  2. that is so true, strangers do share more than perhaps they should. It’s as if they are at times they have been sworn to secrecy and by telling a stranger they have kept it of sorts, believing the details will go no further

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  3. I’ve found that to be one of the most difficult things to do…especially when you’re seeing warning signs blinking in NEON hazards as they speak. But I’ve also learned that it’s better to give advice when solicited, and then, only once…and not to judge if they choose to go their own way as it’s their life and they’re the ones who have to deal with the consequences. I’ve also found that they’re more willing to come to you when they truly need you if you choose to go the support route v. the preachy one. (Still, SOOOOO not easy.)

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  4. Your post is appropriate for me today. I’m sitting here waiting for a friend to come over who texted me last night and asked if she could talk to me today. I don’t know what she needs or wants to talk about only that she seemed distressed and very grateful that I was willing to listen to what she had to say. I’ve gotten better over the years at letting people talk it out before giving any advice and this is just a reminder for me to “zip it” and just listen. Gracias!

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    • Sorry Mary how remiss of me to overlook your comment. I like th term “purge” it kinda makes me somehow feel like a counsellor and I want to say in Frasier style “I’m listening” (which of course, I don’t do very well)

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  5. They may just want a comforting shoulder but they chose your shoulder – if they didn’t want someone to help they shouldn’t have picked you! Carry on giving out advice – I’d treasure it myself. Jx

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  6. My friends would often start their confessions/problem talk with: “Leo, I just want you to listen and shut up.” And I obliged, however, a day later I give them my opinion lol
    But generally, people just want/need to vent.
    Have a nice week!

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  7. It is sometimes easier to tell a stranger a huge truth because they can’t judge, don’t know you and can’t hold whatever you unleash against you in the future. For me, it’s hard to shut up and listen (shocker, I know) because I want to try and help fix it. I’ll remember this post next time that happens!

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  8. You have opened a very complex dialogue, especially for a “fixer” type of person. (Yes, I fall into that category as well) I once had a brilliant professor for a business organizational type of course. He was a trained psychologist. I asked him what he did when people came to him to discuss their problems. What advice did he give them? He replied that he didn’t give them any advice – they really didn’t want to hear, they wanted to talk. They just needed to sort it out and have someone as a sounding board. But there came a time, when they needed to make a decision on their own. There is a time for speaking, for listening, but most importantly there is a time to decide, to chose.

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