Updated: Apr 14
In the busy world that we live in today with so many demands, how effective are we at listening and understanding what the speaker is saying? How engaged are we? Believe it or not, listening is a skill. It is the basis for effective communication, and it is something that we consciously choose to do.
Listening is very powerful, and it is an important part of providing emotional support! How many of you have received a call from a friend or loved one who just needed to talk? You did not say much during the call, but at the end of the call, they thanked you for helping them and for listening. You responded by saying, "Well, I did not do much". Actually, you did! You, as the listener helped the speaker to feel heard by focusing on understanding the message. You provided an open and safe environment for the speaker and helped them to voice their frustration or avoid it altogether.
How to Support Those Impacted by Cancer
If you are not sure what to say or do when you know someone who has cancer, the best answer is to listen with your heart. This is very critical for those impacted by cancer because at times they can feel misunderstood or alone. Try to hear and understand how they feel. Don’t judge or try to change the way the person feels or acts. Let them know that you’re open to talking whenever they feel like it. Or, if they don’t feel like talking right now, you can offer to listen whenever they’re ready just make sure you are available at that time. Open your ears and heart and just listen!
Top Tips from People Affected by Cancer on How to Listen to Someone with Cancer 
1. Try to keep the setting private, relaxed and with few distractions.
2. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare.
3. Let the person with cancer lead the conversation and try not to interrupt.
4. Give your full attention to what they are saying.
5. If you’re finding it difficult or upsetting don’t change the subject – say how you feel, this can prevent any awkwardness.
6. If they cry, don’t try to cheer them up. Reassure them that it’s OK to be sad and that it’s a normal response to what’s happening to them.
7. A friendly touch of the hand can help but if they pull away, give them space.
8. Try not to give advice unless they have asked for it.
9. Don’t use humor unless they have used it themselves.
10. Silences are OK, don’t feel like you must fill them with words.
It is so important to have people in our lives who truly care about what we have to say. They are the people who listen with the intention to understand and not to respond and judge. You can't go wrong listening with love! 💜
We all have something important to say and we deserve to be listened to with love. If you or a loved one have been impacted by cancer and you would like to speak with someone who has not only been there but is also a trusted shoulder to lean on who listens with their heart, contact me to schedule your FREE 45-minute Discovery Call to learn about how I can support you.
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