To actually listen

3f4sqiums6k-mikael-kristensonListening is a strong word. Stronger than anyone can ever imagine. Especially at a time when the ability to listen seems to drown in meaningless superficiality and people’s needs to assert themselves. The number of followers on Instagram and Facebook does not appear to be significant any longer, as many in spite of the fact that they have a lot of followers does not seem to reach out with their message. The constant flow, which gives the individual new counter-productive information, is confusing and increase the risk of mental illness. Loneliness overwhelms us as our voices must be raised an octave to reach out through the loud noise. Eventually voice modes and methods will be used that risk creating a future generation who will act completely ruthless to one another. Karl Josefsson experiences this during a passage in the novel Free Man, when one child turns into a monster and abuses another. Freedom in its true sense can never involve that all people, in every moment, should and must express everything. It produces no creative solutions because everyone’s right, and their belief that they have the right, will make us shout louder than one another and disappear into a huge void in which we lose ourselves.

Listening has been my most important experience in working with people in crisis. For that is exactly what many job seeking persons’ experiences, a deep life crisis which is almost impossible to get out of if he/she does not get treated right and get the right kind of help – to get someone to really listen. During my 15 years of experience in the business, I have unfortunately among colleges’ often seen it to be more important to fulfill one’s own needs than wanting to find the solution to the job seeking individual´s life. This of course gives the individual a mistrust of the entire business because one always goes after the own experience rather than being objective. My own brother hates all what coaches’, supervisors and consultants stands for because none of them thought it was interesting enough to really listen to his story, lined with misfortune and tragedy. Tragedies that a young man experienced, and an adult with safe upbringing can never imagine. This is precisely where the conflict lies. Empathy, true empathy is all about being able to for real put oneself in another person’s tragedies. This can never be linked to education. The fact is that education often can be a disadvantage because it creates a certain superiority to the client and that unfortunately creates additional locks. Trained authority also has a tendency to feed suspicion in the client.

Listening also means something more than just to listen to what anyone else says. Words that come into a person becomes meaningless unless the heart and brain are in the conversation. With the right questions, the co-conversing part has the opportunity to ”unlock” the blockings in a broken individual. The unlocking function must be based on non-provocative questions, since it otherwise will build fences around the heart of the client, who then automatically will seek out a lie. If the truth is not reached, it will never be possible to help the client. In my experience, active listening involves a much more complicated process than most textbooks have to offer on the subject.

Niklas Liiv 12th of February