About the Art of Listening

I was recently with a patient who was going on and on about the amount of pain she was in.

I asked her: “And how is your relationship? Did you finally speak up?”

Silence.

“No,” she admitted.

Background story: Like many of us, my patient was in a relationship where she was never heard or acknowledged. And often, her partner would tell her that what she felt was nonsense.

With time, she started believing those stories, and she lost trust in herself and her way of feeling.

People tend to repeat the patterns they grew up with, and that’s exactly what she did. Anytime there was trouble or conflict in her relationship, her first response was to run for the door and flee the situation. She tried to hide; she shrunk; she silenced herself.

That tactic never works. It keeps you stuck and blocks any chance of moving past the problem toward a solution.

She tried to get back in touch with her feelings, and decided to face a dilemma in her relationship rather than flee.

She asked herself: “Who do I believe? Do I trust my inner voice, or believe my partner telling me what is right?”

For her, the end result of ignoring her own wisdom was unbearable pain in her arms and hands. Her body was physically expressing the tension that resulted from ignoring her truth.

I think it was author Brene Brown who said that once you have seen the truth, you cannot unsee it. Your body lets you know your truth, and it’s not always gentle.

Because my patient wasn’t familiar with her body’s way of communicating, she was confused by her pain and tried to medicate her way out of it.

The best remedy anyone suffering from mysterious pain is to listen to their body’s language. Then, take action on the knowledge your body wants to convey.

That’s what makes the pain disappear. Most people, however, are afraid of the upheaval in this would cause in their lives. So, they stay choose to stay imprisoned between a rock and a hard place. To ignore what they know to be true; to trust others more than they trust themselves.

It takes tremendous courage to choose yourself above anyone else. Ultimately, this is the biggest gift you can give to yourself.

Are you bold enough to choose yourself?

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