Listening is an important skill to have but a lot of people do not really know how to listen effectively. I have learned over the years that the most valuable thing that I can offer to anybody is to simply be a good listener. If you think about it, a truly best friend is a great listener. Most of the time people are looking for friends who will listen without judging.
When talking about my illness to people I have find that I have run across people that simply do not listen. Although it comes from the right intentions, people will try to relate to my illness with something that they have had before and often will hand out unwanted and bad advice when all I really need is for them to listen. We all have our own story, no one really knows how you and I feel, they can relate, but they do not know how we feel. We all handle our trials, troubles and illnesses differently, we are all unique, our internal make up is different, our feelings are our feelings. Try to never say, “I know how you feel.”
Here are some great ways to begin sharpening your skills on listening to others.
1. Allow others to say what they are going to say. Let them tell their story, an opportunity will come at some time in the relationship for you to tell your story in relation to their story.
2. Stay silent!
3. Bank information.
4. Be open and receptive. nod, smile, make occasional eye contact, act like you care.
5. Only give advice if the person asks for it and keep the advice short and to the point.
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It’s Thanksgiving and it’s a time to pause and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. The end of the year should be filled with family, celebration and gratefulness. I believe it’s time to realize that every day we should be giving thanks!
For me every day is a day to be thankful because I am simply alive. Although there have been days lately that have been less than favorable for me, I can still say that the fact that I wake up every single day and take a breath is a true blessing.
For most of my life I was blinded to the simple blessings that God had given me. I grew up in a less than a stellar home and family life. I did not have a good family connection and I kept the rest of the world at bay. If God didn’t move in an earth shattering miracle, I could not see Him move at all. My perception was skewed waiting on the big wow moments.
If there is one thing I have learned is that God doesn’t always give me wow moments. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some big, “only God could have done that”, moments but now I’m thankful for the blessings of everyday life that get overlooked and that I have, for so long, taken for granted.
I am most thankful for the simplest, and the most overlooked blessings; being alive today. It may not be pain free, I have struggles with so much because of my illnesses, but God still has given me love, peace, mercy and my life.
Thank You Lord!
Psalms 103: 2-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
What I’m I thankful for? I’m thankful that God has forgiven us, He heals our diseases and who picks us up when we are down and who lavishes us with love and mercy. Love and mercy are gifts we do not deserve, they are gifts freely given. If we have ever been at a place in our life where we felt like we were all alone and helpless, He was there to provide love and mercy. God is the one that makes us feel young and alive again. Thank God, He is always there to love us and forgive us and to sustain us.
Today I am at the cancer center for a six hour iron infusion. I will sit in a chair, hooked up to iv with iron pumping into my body. This will give me a little bit of energy for a little while. This is my reality with chronic illness. Most days when I go out into the public I make an effort to look my best, makeup to cover the dark circles under my eyes, hair straightened and sprayed into place, a smile on my face, covering up the ravage that my illness has done to my body. No one would guess just by looking at me that I have been bedridden for weeks, that the pain that I have on a day to day basis might put a normal healthy person into the fetal position and these are my “good” days. Today. I am sharing the real me. Reality of chronic illness.