The Art Of Listening

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The art of listening

Dr. Colin Dicks

MBChB, FRANZCR, MBA, MSc Palliative Medicine.
February 14, 2019

The Art Of Listening

The Art of Listening: One of the difficult things I have had to do in the past few weeks is to decide about the benefits of dying to understand. It is one thing to have a website that encourages discussion about dying but does anyone care?

In a group discussion on linked-in I asked a number of questions relating to the topic of death and dying and there was one theme in common: That is the importance and the art of listening.

You may have heard the comment that God gave us two ears and only one mouth hence the need to listen twice as much as we speak. Listening is a lost skill. It is easy to interrupt when someone is talking about every-day events. It is frustrating and often simply rude when this happens. How much more do we need to listen or at least create an opportunity to listen or be heard when it comes to the topic of dying.

Dying To Understand is a not-for-profit charity and part of the purpose of dyingtounderstand.com is to create an environment where people can tell their story. This may be a personal story or someone else’s story. It doesn’t matter how it is told but it does matter that it gets told. Without “the telling” there can be no listening.

What Sort of Things Do We Need to Listen To?

The obvious is listening to people’s fears and concerns, their wishes and needs because it may be possible to lighten the burden and ease the load if we know about them.

It is important to listen to people’s stories because I believe each story matters.

But there is more to listening than just listening to the obvious. I think it is also important to listen to other people as life’s journey ends. What are friends and family members saying both verbally and non -verbally?

What are the health care providers saying?

What is your body saying? What biological messages are you getting? Both patients and carers bodies feel the effects and strain of an illness. What needs to be heard to relieve these stresses?

Can we listen to God?

Even if no one else cares, I care. Perhaps there are people who are brave enough to allow the art of listening. It starts by telling and then allowing someone to hear.

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