I like positive people. I like negative people. I dislike very negative people. I loathe over-positive people. Time and again I come across people and communities who disregard the very existence of sadness, pain, turmoil with "everything will be alright". Does it? A person who loses his limb would never get his limb back. A person who lost his precious youth to debt won't get it back. A samosa that fell on floor is dead.
Everybody in this world is brash wearing a diamond studded crown stepping out of a Lamborghini on to the red carpet. No? But that's what they want others to see. Look at your resume or look at mine. It says how I am Adwords certified, Facebook blueprint certified and college topper(vroom vroom) not even once does it say that I failed at maths in college. Resumes are such because hiring managers are terrible. Your girlfriend says "she's FINE" because you are terrible.
Listening is an art. I have had a few hundreds chats as a "trained listener" at 7cupsoftea. They have coaching manuals for you to become a better listener. Trust me, I say this by experience some of the listeners are terrible at listening and writing manuals alike. I once went as a member in search of a listener to hear me out. I found it funny and equally annoying. The chat was something like this,
Listener: Hello. How can I help you today?
Me: Well, I feel a bit stressed due multiple things piling up at once
Listener: Oh you feel stressed due to multiple things?
<20 seconds="" wait="">20>
Listener: What are those things?
Me: Some work related and some on the personal front.
Listener: Oh you have multiple work related and personal things to take care of?
<10 seconds="" wait="">10>
Me: Why are you repeating things that I say?
I dealt it myself that day. Then I realized that how difficult it is to find someone to just speak to. So I decided to become a listener myself. I went through rigorous training. One point in the manual said,"Rephrase and repeat what the member says. This makes them share more details about their experience". That listener was brilliant at that. I should have read the manual early.
I came across a post on 9gag. I kept a screenshot because I felt it was important for people to understand how rare good listening is. This is what an escort had to say about one service.
If you think women are never lonely then firstly, you are man secondly, you are missing the point. Listening is hard and rare quality. I have not come across any manual which effectively helps you listen better. Manuals help you make cosmetic changes, have an open body language, nod all the time etc. They all make your exterior appear to be listening. But unless you are genuinely inquisitive and desperate to help one out, you can't listen effectively. Yes, desperate to listen to someone.
The foundation stone of listening is validation. We all want to be different but are afraid to stand out. Are you an engineer? See! We do not like to be termed inappropriate or an outlaw to be feeling something.
A friend of mine went out with a friend. They drank. She drank little too much. Before she realized she was in his bed. He tried convincing her to let her "guard" down. She refused. Next morning she rang me up, a 3 second ring. I missed the call. I called her back. She tried to talk normally. She said she called by mistake. I stayed mum. "You can tell me what happened". She broke into tears. She showed a lot of courage and told me everything. "I feel so terrible". "I don't know why I drink when I can't handle". "I feel like a slut". "I don't want to live anymore".
Had I said "everything will be alright", she would have hung up. Had I validated her being a slut, she would have shot me in the head before hanging up. I leave it up to you do decide rights and wrongs. What you validate or not is your call. To listen better, you only validate their feeling is not abnormal. You tell them things like "anyone would feel terrible"(which is truth), "I understand what you are going through"(which may be false).
It is not necessary to sweep every blotted and torn page under the carpet of "everything will be alright". It helps to accept the broken pieces as they are.
|Dawn at Kasol, Himachal Pradesh|
I read great men say
every night has its day
every night dark,
getting darker every hour
when clouds and storms
devour the last speck of light
never have I seen
night turn bright
"You be the storm
I'd be the lightning"
Understandably one can not appreciate failures, losses, accidents but acknowledging them does less harm than pretending they never happened. A chess board has as many bright squares as dark, so do life, school, college and relationships.
If you don't embrace the storm, how would you be the lightning!