What Most People Need Is A Really Good Listening To
My father was one of the best physicians I’ve ever known. And it wasn’t that he was a genius with the intricacies of medicine (though he was a genius in general), but that he was a genius when it came to listening. So many doctors that he knew half-listened to the patient’s complaints, gave them a B-12 shot and sent them on their way with a note to come back in two months’ time. My father? He would be all attention, occasionally asking a quiet question, and often coming to the conclusion that a patient’s emotional state was the catalyst for so much pain and suffering, rather than a physical cause. Instead of that B-12 shot there would be some reassurances, some empathy, and some suggestions on how the patient could best care for themselves. He recognized, even back in the Fifties and Sixties when he was starting his practice, that without the patient’s involvement and cooperation, healing would be much more difficult.
When he retired, he got mailbags full of letters from patients that said, “I will miss you so much. You are the only doctor who ever listened to me.”
Today, we all know the cartoons about the psychiatrist or the doctor who tells the patient what’s wrong with them – usually a litany that the patient only half-understands. With the downward spiral of American medicine today, it only gets worse. It really is up to us. So the first thing I will tell someone is you are your own best healer.
What does that mean in terms of what I do here when I counsel my clients?
We have been conditioned to think of someone else as the expert on everything about us: what to wear, what to eat, what to think. We often assume we know nothing, and go from professional to professional. We want someone to tell us what’s wrong with us, and then what we have to do to feel better.
The very best allopathic doctors know that to understand what a patient’s challenges are, they need to take a good history. That means going over with the patient, in detail, their entire health history to see if there is a noticeable point where things started to go wrong, or if there are telltale signs in the patient’s everyday life that are red flags to dis-ease or discomfort.
In other words, the doctor listens. Carefully. Thoroughly.
Anyone who is a healer or counselor learns to listen with everything they have, not just the ears. And when we work with alternative modalities – hands-on healing, aura cleansing, and so on – listening becomes even more important, not only to what the patient says, but to what that “still, small voice” of intuition may be telling us about the patient’s situation. It gives us another point of reference to discuss with our clients, another key that may unlock the door to health and wellbeing.
You, too, can discover how to listen to yourself, on a lot of levels. Here are some everyday occurrences you may want to explore:
- Have you listened to your self-talk? Are you constantly feeding yourself negative reinforcement (too fat/too dumb/too slow/too old/too poor/too ugly/not good enough)? Food is food, be it in the mouth or in the head. “Junk thoughts” aren’t any better for you than junk food.
- Have you listened to your body? When you feel a twinge, or an ache, do you try and figure out what triggered it, perhaps changing your actions or behavior? Or do you simply pop a pill and forget it until the body really breaks down?
- Have you listened to your heart? Do you truly pay attention to your feelings about something, or do you assume that everyone else’s needs come first, and that to take action on your heart’s desire is mere selfishness?
- Have you listened to the world? Can you “tune in” and look at the synchronicities, the coincidences, the unexplained little incidents that are all pointing in one direction for you?
- Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what’s wrong. They don’t live inside your skin. You do. And the more you know yourself, the better your health partner can work with you to get you into that whole and beneficent space where all’s right with your world (and you).
TRY THIS EXERCISE:
For three days, really notice what you do, how you feel, and what happens to you in a given day. Jot it down. Then, review what you’ve written, and look for patterns. Do they relate to the things in your life you’re not happy with? That you’d like to change? Things you simply “don’t feel good” about?
Listen to yourself here — the way you’d want your best friend to listen to you. And then, move forward. After all, who knows you better than you?