We Speak To Give Voice To The Unspeakable - Grasshopper
Feelings can never be accurately portrayed in words, just as a photograph, no matter how beautiful, can ever match what you saw with your eyes.
Feelings are unspeakable, yet it’s useful to make a vocal attempt so that feelings have an outlet, even though we stutter and lisp and are often close to incoherent when we do so.
In the past, I would dutifully listen to someone describing their problem just waiting for them to take a breath so that I could offer my strategy for a solution that was apparent to me after a couple of sentences. I came to find out that they were often hesitant to act on my solution because they didn’t feel like they were fully heard.
I was going to offer the same strategy to them after hearing a couple of sentences that I would have after hearing the whole tale, but to me it was expedient to get to the solution as quickly as possible. Even though my solution was the same, it wasn’t taken as often as it was when I gave them the opportunity to speak the unspeakable.
We all need a shoulder to cry on which was elegantly stated another way by my friend’s sister when admonishing their mother for not speaking up about feeling ill. She said, “There’s a fine line between stoic and stupid.” Or as one of my favorite Tweeters, Robert Brault, offered: “We can as easily bear our grief alone as cry on our own shoulder.”
Feelings are meant to be expressed, not repressed. Lending an ear is often a solution in itself.
I do draw the line at story telling. Story telling is someone telling you the same story over and over again when they are no longer attached to their feelings. This is what I call drama. It’s not useful to express or listen to drama because no feelings are being expressed, only a point of view that you’re being regaled with and already knew.
When someone is attempting to express their feelings, it’s a sign that they trust you and, more importantly, need you. It may be unspeakable triviality or tragedy they seek to speak, and it’s respectful and helpful to listen, even if it takes a week.
All the best,
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