Active and reflective listening is truly an art. It takes a lot of patience to listen to someone talk, provide them with validation and not jump into the conversation with our own agendas and advice. I am forever grateful to two clinical supervisors who had the patience to sit and listen in on my responses to phone conversations with clients as I learned to listen and drop myself out of the conversation so the other person could feel validated and more in control of their own life. Slowly with their help I learned to be a better listener.
I still have to remind myself to drop my agendas at the door sometimes, or that by giving advice I am basically taking responsibility for the other person’s choices and I don’t have to live their life and I am always much better off asking the question, “What are your options?” I don’t live in their skin and have to bear up with the consequences of their decisions 24/7 just like they don’t have to live with mine.
I am thankful for a handful of friends who are interdependent with me so that not only do I listen but I am heard when I chose to talk.