[To listen to an audio version of this blog post please click here: https://bit.ly/3H3VGZ2]
Dad’s 92nd birthday brought with it much opportunity for reflection and gratitude. He is in relatively good health – I’d say amazing health for one so advanced in years – and he’s intellectually sparky.
But he’s lonely. He’s had two years of isolation for health reasons. For him to, at last, be able to spend time with us again was a wonderful few hours. We even went ‘out’ for lunch! What was once ‘normal’ is now a major treat!
My brain won’t shut up. I am grateful to finally understand that this may be Adult ADHD and, if so, cut myself some slack, but that won’t change the endless reflection. I’ve been observing people’s behaviour much more – and noticing how rare it is for anyone to listen without the need to plan their response. The number of interruptions are worse than an irresponsible driver weaving in and out of traffic. To me, this is massively disrespectful.
It does, however, bring home two points: we all need to be listened to, and we aren’t going to get listened to if we talk over others.
My first business was delivering customer care training back in the 1980s. Then, there was a need for it. Now, there is even more of a need. The new fashionable term is ‘CX’ which stands for ‘Customer Experience’. Thus, there am I, on my Dad’s 92nd birthday, thinking, “How can I give these people a great Customer Experience?” Yes, that’s how weird my thinking patterns are. I thought, “How can I give to them FIRST before asking or even expecting to receive?” Or, more traditionally, “How can I DO to them FIRST what I’d so love someone to do for me?”
With mental health issues, the primacy of self-care is without dispute. We must look after ourselves if we want to care for others. Burnout is an ever-present danger. But I think there is space for a shift of attention away from ourselves and a time and place for focus on others first – in short bursts. It’s the, “Give (first), and it will be given to you.” Is this the truth? It’s certainly an interesting process order to try.
What pleased me was how easy it is with people I know. Lady P really loves to be listened to without interruption. To ‘give’ to her means to listen – genuinely listen. Dad loves his music and, I think, a good chat, and to have the company of his children. My eldest loves to share his passions… so I ask him about them and then I get out of the way.
Here’s the really weird bit. The, “…and it will be given to you,” second part often comes through someone else! I have one friend, Dawn, who is the best listener I’ve ever met. She listens to me, and that’s enough. I hope that I, too, listen to her.
The order of the Universe may well be: give (first) and then (maybe) it will be given to you. What does your experience teach you? Is this true for you?
A Moodscope member.
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