by Cara Lumen
I get in so much trouble because I have a tendency to get excited with ideas and offer them to people unsolicited and it feels to them like I’m giving advice which I may very well be and it doesn’t go over well. Have you had that experience? It’s getting in my way and I sought some help to stop the habit. Even though I know I do it, it is so engrained as to be unconscious. I recently was given the words I needed to hear to make the shift in consciousness that has been such a long time coming. It has changed the way I now approach others and has softened my interaction with them.
Reframe what you are doing
Although I’ve known I gave advice too often I seemed unable to stop it until I heard some words that helped me reframe my advice-giving in a different light and I was able to make a change. My son said “You have positioned yourself as a trusted advisor.” That’s all I heard although there was more to the sentence because a major shift happened, I reframed how I saw myself. My son may have meant that I offer too much advice, but the phrase changed how I see my role. To me a trusted advisor listens and absorbs and listens some more. I liked being a trusted advisor. Suddenly I had given myself permission to simply be with people and not let my mind go off in all sorts of ideas that they could do if it interested them. It brings me great peace to just listen.
The second thing that happened was a I read a post by Tama Kieves www.AwakeningArtistry.com called “My Number One Career and Soul Coaching Tip: Listening with Love” in which she talked about sacred neutrality, how her role is to look for the truth, to observe and listen, to be curious, not conclusive and be a sacred witness for their consciousness. That made a huge shift for me, particularly when it allowed me to be curious but not conclusive. Listen and observe but not offer advice – unless asked for.
Listening creates more positive results than offering advice
I bet you money that very seldom someone comes up to you and says “I want your advice.” They want you to listen while they sort themselves out. And they do sort themselves out without our help. If you take the role of “curious” you might pose a question or two but you will not reach a conclusion like the advice-giving “you could do this or that.” And I really like the idea of being a sacred witness for their consciousness. The only answers come from within and sometimes we listen to the inner voice in silence and sometimes in the company of others. But the answer is ours to receive and ours to act upon. No one outside of ourselves can help us with that process.
So the third realization was that an outside listener does not hold the answers for another person. Wow, that’s big – I don’t have their answers so why am I running around trying to give advice? I must hold a sacred neutrality. I can be a sounding board so they can hear their own answers. That means that listening creates more positive results than any amount of advice giving I might ever do.
A new habit to create
This is a new awareness for me and I haven’t had a chance to put it into practice yet but I’m going to make signs for my desk that say:
• “Sacred Neutrality”
• “Sacred Witness for their consciousness”
• “Observe and Listen”
• “Curious not Conclusive”
And I’ll practice those qualities on my phone conversations so that when I get with people in person I will know how to simply be with them. Simple be. No advice, no ideas, just my presence, my supportive, listening, loving presence.
I can do that.
© 2010 Cara Lumen