Thursday, October 22, 2015

Just Listen

We hosted a Suicide Awareness Symposium at Northridge today as a service to our community. I have had my own life deeply impacted by suicide and was grateful for the wisdom and encouragement offered by all. This is can be an area of great unease, but one it is necessary to talk about if we want to help people in crisis.

I believe there are more people in that type of crisis around us than we know. I feel certain a great number of people in our community are struggling with feelings of hopelessness. If we want to be able to help, we've got to learn to listen.

Part of this involves hearing what people have to say, but it also means we are paying attention to nonverbal communication. Engaging all of our senses in compassionately caring for our community gives us the ability to see what is actually going on. This won't happen if we don't slow down our personal pace of life enough to notice. Our desire to listen means we will focus our attention (without any other distractions) on being present for those in need. Intently listening lets someone know we are there and we care what happens to them. Sometimes that focused compassion may be enough to save someone from making a choice they won't live to regret.

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