Many of us of a certain age are familiar with the admonition, “You deserve a good talking to!” Recently I saw the quote turned on its head: “You need a good listening to,” and it’s wisdom and truth made me wish I had thought of it.
As a trained counselor, I understand the value of listening and the dear price some people pay to licensed professionals in order to be heard. Discussing abuse, post-traumatic stress, or other extreme life issues is often impossible outside of a confidential therapeutic environment. Indeed, some life circumstances are so complicated as to require the services of a therapist in order for long-lasting healing and personal growth to occur.
But what about the usual ups and downs that mark every-day life, the concerns about jobs, families, health, and friendships. We need and want to share them (other than on Facebook), yet where do we turn in order to be listened to in a meaningful way? Isn’t that part of our obligation to each other as fellow human beings? Our desire to be heard transcends every outward characteristic or inner belief that might seem to separate us. I believe it is something we all want and sometimes desperately need, and it might be the most precious gift we can offer one another.
As Christmas approaches, and we wring our hands worrying about buying the ideal present, maybe the best we have to give is already in our grasp.
“You need a good listening to!” Yes we do.