TALK TALK listen TALK TALK TALK

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness

(c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

photo-24800475-businesswoman-covering-her-earsDoes today’s title sound like what is happening in society now? Many people are talking; who is listening?

Recently, someone made a generalized statement about a race of people to which the speaker does not belong. A second person agreed. I said something to the effect of ‘we have to know people before assuming anything’, and was promptly accused of bringing politics into the discussion. Really?

You see, the speaker was so entrenched in a specific point of view, that anything contrary – even to question it – was unacceptable. It did not matter that the speaker is the one who brought it up.

TALK TALK listen TALK TALK TALK

One husband apologized to his wife for an unsavory attitude he had displayed earlier. She asked if he understood why it had hurt her. His reply was more rancor as he spun the blame for the scene to her.

His apology was an attempt at control. “I apologized now you drop it.” His heart was not willing to learn how to avoid bringing pain to his wife.

TALK TALK listen TALK TALK TALK

A young woman in a meeting I attended said many, many words. She said them loudly and softly, but always fast. She spoke over other people, and rushed to offer answers before problems were fully explained.  In the middle of all this, she said, “I know I talk too much, but that’s just me. If people don’t want to listen to me then I don’t need them.”

She had no interest in hearing anything outside of her own voice. Defending her right to speak as much as she wanted, she missed the fact that no one wanted her to remain in the room.

TALK TALK listen TALK TALK TALK

We have opportunities to be invested listeners. In this political climate, in dealing with our neighbors, when confronted by misguided anger, by hearing a person out and asking sincere questions for clarity, we can be part of the solution to a human race problem – judgement.

Listening produces trust. In church this morning we were challenged to make a difference in our world by not picking and choosing who we will serve in Jesus’ name. Openness and hospitality to all is love-in-action. Listening is a universal love language.

Listening produces growth. By gaining knowledge we are set free from the burden of assuming. By hearing another’s point of view, especially one opposite to our own, our brains and hearts stretch toward empathy and kindness.

Mental health is affected by whether we are heard or not. How painful it is to be open and vulnerable only to be shut down. How agonizing it is to be alone with no one interested in anything you have to say.

In the U.S., as we approach our holiday of gratitude, maybe spend some time contemplating how and when to listen without judgement. Let your goal be:

LISTEN LISTEN talk LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN.

Today’s Helpful Word

James 1:19 

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
-James, brother of Jesus

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

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