As Linda poured out her feelings during a recent session, she stopped and looked at me expectantly. “Aren’t you going to tell me what you think or tell me how to fix my problem? After all, that’s what everyone else does, when I try to tell how I feel.” I told her, “Number one…I don’t believe you need to be “fixed”. My job is to employ the art of listening so I can help you reflect on your feelings and find their meaning for yourself.”
Her experience illustrates how we fall into the trap of thinking about what we’re going to say next, rather than really give our full attention to what the other person is saying. It’s natural to relate what you’re hearing to your own experiences, however, this can lead to jumping to inaccurate conclusions. It’s important to make a deliberate and mindful effort to understand the other side.