Tentative listening

by | Apr 2, 2024 | 0 comments

By Hatim Harith Al Abdissalaam

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, where the birds were settling in preparation for sunset. I was sleeping on my grandmother’s lap and she was rubbing my head and smiling, she said: Son, do you know how important it is for a human being to have an offspring? I was around eight years old at that time and didn’t know what an offspring meant, so I asked her to clarify, and she explained it in a very graceful manner. She said that an offspring came from you and they carry something from you, either your looks or your character. So I smiled and said: Grandma, do I look like you? She smiled and said: no you don’t but you are a very tentative listener like me.

Carbon copy
Years passed by and I wasn’t quite sure what my grandmother meant by me being a tentative listener but as I continue my journey in life It becomes more evident that I am a carbon copy of her and I have become addicted to tentative listening. One of my friends once asked me, do you get affected mentally by listening to all of these people on a daily basis, especially that most of them come to you when they have severe problems? I told him that it was all about our mental process and how we choose to block some negative aspects out of any conversation.

Family – mental health therapists
Going back to the idea of listening, the world we are living in has become a strange world, where people are more concerned about themselves than their communities. This has not only made us selfish individuals but it has also boosted the mental health industry. I seriously don’t remember coming across the word mental health when I was in university. Back then your family, friends, colleagues and even young siblings were your mental health therapists. People genuinely cared about your wellbeing, but unfortunately today it’s no longer the case. We have thousands of followers and not a single real friend, we are outspoken on our social media accounts but in reality, we are introverts and we can’t even start a conversation. We are very good at advertising products but we are terrible at fund raising for those who are less privileged.
When was the last time a total stranger approached you when you are having a really bad day and said to you: excuse me sir, what’s wrong? How can I help you or make you feel better?

Practice listening
I recently had a session with a beautiful soul who had decided to give up on life. After being released from the hospital, I went to talk to this person and provide moral support. Believe it or not, I didn’t do the talking, all they needed was someone to listen to them, be empathetic and make them feel that they are important in life. Now just imagine if we all practised listening, how many souls would we have saved by the grace of God?

Tentative listening is a skill and it takes practice and time to master but the passion for helping others by listening to them will surely be the shortcut towards an effective listening skill and the best place to practice is home. Pay more attention to what your kids and your spouse say before you realise that the people you live with have become strangers.

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