2010-09-24 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

To Be Heard
By Dr. Nancy Gahles

DR. NANCY GAHLES DR. NANCY GAHLES A fundamental requirement for successful relationships is for each person to feel that they have been heard. For emotional health, it is imperative that a person feels safe and secure enough to tell someone else how they feel. I use the word “imperative” to denote the enormity of importance that being heard carries in developing a solid base of self worth.

The first step to developing self worth is to have the courage to voice your opinions. This is encouraged in your primary relationship within your family. When a child begins to talk, this step is generally met with great enthusiasm by the parents. Excitement and the attention given to everything the child is saying encourages the freedom to continue ex-pressing oneself.

Once you have told another person how you are feeling on any subject, their response is crucial. After the glow of childhood wears off, one may not receive the alacrity of response that your parents had given you. Hopefully, you have internalized the sense of courage and self confidence by the time you reach school age.

As school terms begin, symptoms arise on all levels of body, mind and emotion. Anticipation and apprehension are types of stress. They are not always addressed immediately as they often do not display physical symptoms initially. Physical symptoms are signs that we are taught are “for real.“ Physical symptoms are truth. Physical symptoms are worth listening to.

This type of thinking does us a disservice in several ways. First, it encourages the development of disease. By the time the thoughts, fears, insecurities become manifest as physical symptoms, the body has already been corrupted, disturbed and sick. Second, we have discouraged the expression of feelings that are disturbing. Those feelings must be expressed. If they are not listened to, heard and processed correctly, pathology is likely to develop in some organ or sensory system in order that the disturbance can be “heard.“

Listening is also an act of courage because we often have no immediate solution. Living in a “find it, fix it” society, we are uncomfortable listening to the angst of someone when we cannot fix it. Listening is an act of compassion. Simply being present to hear the feelings of someone else is all that needs to be done. Everyone wants to be heard. The simple act of telling your story is healing in itself. Off loading, as it is called in the scientific arena, offers a 75 percent reduction in disease. This is often called the placebo effect. After a consultation with your doctor, no medicine is given but the patient feels much better.

Listening. Listening without your ego involved. Listening without judgment. Listening with compassion. Listening as though it were you who needed to be heard. It is you. Every time you do an act of kindness for someone else, you lift everyone else up as well.

Simple solutions to everyday issues. Take time to be present. Listen to your own inner voice on a daily basis. Be compassionate to your own self. By this, you will be able to discern what is yours and what is the other persons. This helps to be non-judgmental. A good listener is objective. A good listener reflects back to the other, the object of their thoughts. A good listener is a good partner, teacher, friend, doctor, lover. Keep it simple. Listen so that one knows they have been heard.

That’s healthy. That creates harmony. Within and without. And raises us all up.

May The Blessings Be!

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