“I just need someone to listen to my problems!”
” I just need someone to talk to.”
” I just need someone to talk to about my feelings…”
Do the above statements resonate with you? Sometimes, you just need someone to take the time to simply be quiet and listen… really listen.
Can YOU Relate to this Story!?!
I remember painfully and clearly; what it felt like when my family members and friends did not understand me or what I was going through. It seemed like everyone I approached either didn’t have time, empathy or the patience for me.
And sure, there were empathetic friends who tried to make an effort to listen, but here’s the deal: it was very apparent that they didn’t have (or rather, didn’t know); the skills necessary to truly listen effectively. Bless their hearts, they strived to listen… You know how it is — they do the necessary head nods and pauses and interject ‘yes I understand’… but I knew they didn’t really understand. I felt like a lot of the time, they were just paying ‘lip service’. You know what I mean?
Needless to say, I felt suffocated, isolated and invisible.
Or worse yet, I felt ignored. And I don’t know about you, but for me, feeling ignored is the worst feeling of them all. It’s like you don’t exist. And this in turn makes you feel as if you’re worthless.
So, the ugly truth is… when someone is feeling this way, it only takes one or two additional efforts to reach out and if the same results continue, it triggers a vicious cycle of despair and hopelessness.
First and foremost, I want to assure everyone reading this blog, that yes… there ARE people who will listen and actually ‘HEAR’ what you have to say.
Made You Smile Back is proud to take on this important topic and dive in and explore what you can do if you’re needing to find someone to listen to you and your feelings and situation.
In addition, Made You Smile Back is also proud to enlighten and hopefully, educate, as best as possible, those of us to BECOME better listeners. Because in so doing, not only do WE become a better listener, it will also help US in future life struggles that impact us and for the times we will NEED someone to listen to us.
Please Hear What I’m Trying to Say!
Have you ever wanted to just reach out to your friend or family member and just ‘shake them’ and scream ‘listen to ME!’ When this happens these types of resulting feelings can take a tremendous toll on your well-being and self-esteem.
Feeling unheard can create strong internal emotions which in turn can cause one to go ‘down the rabbit hole’ of depression and anxiety. As humans and social creatures, we crave feeling connected, so it makes sense that we feel not only emotionally upset but it also affects our physical health and well-being, too.
When Someone Truly Listens, It’s a Healing!
According to “GoodTherapy”, “when someone truly listens, it’s a healing!” There ARE people who will listen deeply and without judgment. Yes, they are few and far between (it seems), but when you meet someone like this, here is what you can pleasantly expect:
These special people listen so patiently and intently to all your words and feelings, both expressed and unexpressed you then easily find yourself pouring out your heart…
When you are allowed to freely express yourself; you can easily release all your fears, disappointments and emotional pain. This is truly therapeutic and healing.
If you get a skilled ‘listener’, you will instantly feel you’re in a no-judgment and empathetic space and you can feel both understood and validated.
When you do find someone who provides you with a ‘no-judgment-free-zone’, it’s important to talk to him/her about everything that’s seriously bothering you. And keep talking until you feel relief. It may end up that you may have to talk to ‘more than one person’ to get you to the level of relief you need for yourself personally.
If there’s no one in your life like this, and you don’t think you can find anyone, then go online and google search for a good therapist, like those on betterhelp.org or on psychologytoday.com.
Another option is to seek out a Life Coach, or more specifically, a Happiness Life Coach. Make sure they are accredited. Many people feel more comfortable talking to someone who has ‘walked the walk’ themselves and have life experience of deep emotional pain themselves.
When you are able to talk with a highly trained, skilled, and naturally intuitive professional, you can shorten the time of “feeling down on yourself” and begin your own personal journey of healing.
You owe it to yourself to do whatever it takes to prevent depression, or deeper depression. It’s really so simple (though not always easy), yet so important.
As a Happiness Life Coach myself, after taking the time to ‘listen’ and ‘hear’ my clients, I then begin our engagement by asking thought-provoking questions. For instance, how would you answer these questions:
A skilled psychologist, social worker, life coach or someone like myself, a Happiness Life Coach can provide measurable healing and mental well-being to their clients. This is done by their powerful listening ability. And when done well, you can come away with life-coping strategies that truly not only restore your self-esteem and well-being, it can also be truly life-transforming.
Made You Smile Back would be totally amiss if we didn’t address the ‘elephant in the room’. Let’s face it, our culture doesn’t encourage people to talk about their emotional pain and life struggles. Instead, our culture teaches us to suppress our feelings…
We are told that we should not ‘feel sorry for ourselves’, to not ‘dwell’ on our problems. How many of us have been told to ‘get over it’ or ‘be strong’, etc. or if you are part of some world cultures or religions, you’re told ‘you’re not supposed to talk about it in public’ let alone minimizing it behind closed doors of your own family household!
Folks, today… more than ever, we need to actually ‘get over hiding or suppressing our feelings’! We should NEVER APOLOGIZE for how we are feeling. Feeling sadness, despair, depression, anxiety, grief is part of the human condition!
I GUARANTEE YOU… there is not ANY HOUSEHOLD, here in the United States or even anywhere abroad is immune to these emotional difficulties… We all face life struggles and it’s okay! It’s OKAY to feel this way!
STOP ‘STUFFING YOUR FEELINGS’ AND SPEAK UP!
We need to stop ‘stuffing our feelings’ just because it was how we were raised or what society has incorrectly impressed upon us. Mental Health fitness is JUST AS IMPORTANT as our physical health fitness. Period. There! I said it.
Furthermore, for many men, emotions like sadness, loneliness, disappointment, anxiety, guilt and shame often take the form and appearance of anger. But; this is so misinterpreted as to the true emotion they are having.
As a result, unhealthy behaviors in order to cope may include using alcohol, other substances, or addictive activities in order to continue pushing their genuine feelings down.
When we are aligned with someone, whether it is a special empathetic friend, a licensed social worker, a psychologist, or a Happiness Life Coach there is something intrinsic in the way human beings react and respond when receiving simple, but skillful, response to talking about their emotional pain, whatever it may be.
According to Harriet Cabelly, a writer for https://tinybudda.com:
Emotional pain takes on different forms, whether it’s chronic depression, sadness, grief, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, etc. Emotional pain is emotional pain and we need to release it to get on with ‘living’ and rediscovering ourselves and begin feeling significantly better and being happy again.
When you do find that special ‘someone’ who has learned the art of ’empathetic emotional active listening’ which goes much more than just ‘hearing’, you will find that you shall be on your way back to yourself and reclaiming the joy and happiness you deserve to have!
In the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, provides the following tips for those of us who wish to learn how to ‘listen fully’:
Hearing is an auditory/physiological process. Listening involves the whole person—mind, heart, and soul. Attentiveness, interest, and concern need to shine through.
Listen with your whole self. Forget yourself for a short while and show an interest. There’s so much to learn from people. Everybody has a story.
Comment on it; it makes them feel heard. All too often we bring it back to ourselves. Let people feel that it’s all about them for that moment.
Stay with the other person’s talk. It’s obvious when the listener is simply thinking about his next comment.
Not the concrete 5 W questions (where, what, who, when, why). It shows you really want to understand the other person, not just participate at the bare minimum.
I know this can sound like touchy-feely stuff, but it’s the crux of good communication. It’s worth repeating again: when people feel understood, they’re less likely to get defensive and argumentative.
As human beings, our visceral need is to feel held, with words, rather than to receive solutions.
When we get the space and understanding we need, we can usually come to our own answers. And if not, there’s always time to brainstorm for possible solutions.
So… do you feel you need to reach out right now, right this moment, to someone who can provide you with genuine ’emotional listening support’, then here are a couple of resources for you:
Calling CONTACT Helpline @ 1-800-932-4616 (Toll Free) 24 hours a day. A friendly warm and compassionate Helpline Specialist is waiting to talk with you. Talk about anything, the weather, problems on the job, your feelings of loneliness and isolation. It is a safe place to reach out and connect, connect with another person.
If this is an emergency please call you local crisis intervention.
Many people are good at talking but few are good at listening. Here are a few reasons to cultivate better listening habits:
– Reduces confusion
– Builds trust
– Promotes compassion
– Improves relationships
Listening is crucial in communication, be it with a moody teenager, your spouse or your colleague.
Here are 5 good listening skills to develop:
– Give your undivided attention to the speaker
– Show that you are actively listening with appropriate body language like maintaining eye contact and nodding your head
– Use verbal clues like paraphrasing and restating like ‘ so what I hear is that you …..’
– Do not judge
– Avoid giving advice
Listening barriers imply communication roadblocks. Here are 3 obstacles to good interpersonal relationships:
– Not paying attention to the speaker
– Judgemental language like ‘ you always do this’ or ‘ why do you “ and ‘ how can you’
In a committed relationship, you want to feel ‘heard’ by your partner. If not, you can start to feel unloved and unsupported. This could affect your mental health adversely especially if you would rather run a mile than call your partner out on this issue. Stress and depression are common in situations like this. So it’s wise to develop a strategy where you give 100% attention to one another.
One of the main handicaps to good relationships is being overly eager to share your feelings on an issue. This can make the other person shut down completely.
– Wait for a gap in the conversation to ask questions. This allows the other person to feel ‘ heard’ and builds trust
– Ask questions that help to improve understanding not to pass judgment
– Show empathy for the speaker with appropriate language like ‘ it can be difficult to…’
“I Just Want To Be Happy Again!”
I am in the UK, but I know there are charities here that encourage people to call and speak to someone when they feel there is no hope left. This is serious, but talking to someone has proved to be a lifeline on many occasions.
Mihaela, thank you for your comments. I would love to place any UK Hotline numbers within my post if you would like to get in touch with me and share this content. You can send to my email: [email protected]
Listening is 97% of Communication. Need more of it. Great Blog!!!!
I needed to read this post today! Your tips are amazing. I talk to my daughter every single day about this and being attentive to others.
Interesting that I came across this post. My friend and I were just talking about the importance of teaching our teens to listed for understanding, rather than to listen in order to respond. I really like the tips you provided, especially reflecting on what the person said an asking meaningful questions. I find that it is so much harder now to find people who are skilled in listening.
Thank you for sharing this! I have been diagnosed with depression and in recent years, I’ve learned the importance of being honest about what I’m feeling. It has been a learning process. As you said, our society teaches us to bottle everything up and suppress our emotions which couldn’t be more unhealthy. Posts like this are so important – we need to talk about this more if we’re going to help change the way that society responds to situations like this.
Britt, thank you for your comments. Yes, we all need to do our part in removing the stigma of mental health illness and they include ourselves in learning to speak up when we need help ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog!
Seeking out a life coach is really important if we want to be heard! Friends can only listen so much.
It’s so important to have someone by your side who can listen and who really cares, especially with the current situation in the world.
Excellent blog post! I love that you discussed that society has taught us to suppress our feelings rather than share our feelings. It is extremely difficult to find someone to listen to us. If we are lucky, we have one person in our lives who really actually listens to us! Love the graphic on stuffing your feelings!
Thank you for your positive words! When you find someone who really knows how to listen, it truly is healing.
LOVE THIS POST! The purpose of my blog is to normalize vulnerability. Talking about things that you are struggling with to someone who will REALLY LISTEN is so healing!
Bri, thank you for your comments. I am most humbled. Yes, this is such a vital important topic.
This is an excellent post!! Having a person that truly listens is such a gift. I have this in my best friend, I also have worked with an excellent therapist. It makes a world of difference to be able to express yourself freely and really be heard.
Julie, thanks for the compliment! You are blessed to have such a great friend!
It’s so important to listen fully and understand the other person. In this busy time, this skill is so many times overlooked. Finding a professional listener can make all the difference in our mental health. Excellent points!
Norma, thank you for your comments. You are so right that finding a professional listener makes all the difference. Many blessings to you.
I love this post, Beth. It is such a heartfelt topic. I have been there when you feel like you’re talking but no one is even listening. Your writing is wonderful. Thanks for sharing my friend. 🙂
Thanks Brenda! It is a very heartfelt topic and I’m proud to be able to ‘put it out there’ for people to see!
Wow!!! Powerful message!!!!! There have been plenty of times I have needed that listener and it’s amazing to know they do exist!!!
Meg, thanks for your kind comments. Yes, this is a powerful message and I am pleased to be able to present Made You Smile Back’s viewpoint. Many blessings.
Meg, thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, this was a powerful message and I’m so happy to share it! Take Care!