Pour Me Another...And I'll Bend Your Ear....

Songbird BStarred Page By Songbird B, 8th Mar 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Philosophy>Personal Philosophy

The need to communicate is as old as mankind, and yet, somehow we still haven't learnt how to listen properly......

'Lend me an ear.....'

In the fourteen years, that I had been in the Hospitality Business, generally serving behind a bar, you tend to meet people from all walks of life...And the one thing that I have found that they have in common, apart from drinking, is often the need for conversation....
It is an old joke about telling your woes to the local Bar man/woman...you would have seen it in a hundred films or more, mellow background music, smoky atmosphere, and seeing the wearied soul, pouring his woes out, as the bar tender polished glassware...
Well, to a certain extent, the films are portraying it correctly, if over the top..
Some of us, in the trade, just seem to attract people who want to chat..

I have always loved this, as I am a real 'people person'...and I would more than happily natter to anyone who visited my bar, and if I had the time to spare, was always willing to stand and listen as some poured out their life stories, and some of those could almost make you weep...

One day, I had a guy come into the bar, who was a regular, and I noticed that he was a bit low, so as it was quiet, we got to chatting......
Later, he returned to my bar, with a large bunch of flowers and a card.
He told me that when he had visited earlier, he was going to have a couple of drinks, and then take his own life...He had it all planned out..made all his goodbyes, everything was in order...and then he and I had started to chat, and to this day, I do not know what I said, but something in my words struck home with him, made him rethink on the action he was going to take that evening...and the one line that I remember clearly, was him saying that I had heard him, really listened to what he said...I had cared enough to see if he was ok. and given him my time.

In a way, this is a truly sad reflection on life....How many of us really stop to 'listen', and how many times in your life, could you have done with just that?
It just takes time, and that can be one of the greatest gifts you can give to another soul.
This one situation I had found myself caught up in, started off a whole new train of thought....If I could help someone, I really needed to learn how to do it properly....

I decided that I needed a fresh challenge, and so at 45 years of age, I embarked on a fresh path to find out what was really involved with Counselling, and so signed up for a 20 week 'Introductory Counselling Skills' evening course at my local College.
That proved to be an eye opener indeed!

Taking the First step....

Going back into the Education system, even on an Evening course, kick started my thirst for knowledge...My brain was firing on all cylinders, well, more or less, and I spent hours taking down notes, and attending lectures....
Too often we think that once we leave school or college, that is it, as far as education goes, which is a pity, there are so many evening courses out there on all manner of subjects......
The most important thing that I learnt in College, apart from where the Cafeteria was, was that 'In counselling, You Do Not Offer Advice', now this was totally the opposite of everything that I believed! I thought that was why people came to you in the first place! What a misconception this was....
Counselling is about helping people to help themselves, and thereby developing strengths and resources of their own to cope.
In a class of 20 other students, I was taught about the value of Empathy, and being Non-Judgemental, and what it was to really Listen to someone...

Empathy is; 'Putting yourself in someone else's situation, and seeing it from their perspective. It is the ability to understand what another person is feeling, showing sensitivity and understanding, and being respectful'....

It is all too easy for us to make judgement calls on others..We do it all the time, within seconds of meeting some one new. It is very much part of human nature. We are all too willing to dish out advice, as we see it, from our point of view, and that's the problem, it is our point of view, not necessarily the person sat opposite you...
Being non-judgemental is just plain hard work for the average soul in the street....But a vital part of Counselling...

Well this one is where I came in. The ability to really listen, by putting all your preconceived notions aside. How many of us only hear on a certain level? Our thoughts, problems, time issues, get in the way. You listen with only 'half an ear'...too much noise in your own head to really observe what is being said...
But if we can all take out a little time, just to show we care, to that soul who is opening his/her heart to you, what a difference this could make...

Having the courage to remove the Mask.....

To a certain extent, we all wear Masks that we hide behind. It is the face that we prefer the world to see...Our hidden self we keep safe, protected. I know for a fact that I wouldn't go out without wearing make up, as most women would probably agree...It makes us feel more attractive, psychologically, yet in a way, is still a form of 'mask' that we wear, but that is a simple illustrative example, our real masks are much more complex.......
Counselling comes down to feeling safe and respected enough to remove whatever mask we tend to show the world, and knowing that we will not be judged on it either..It comes down to trust and confidentiality.

Johari's Window.
Johari's Window is a cognitive psychological tool, created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, in 1955.
It is used for self/personal development, and describes how we see ourselves, and how others may see us. It is based on a model of four 'rooms' or quadrants of a 'window' effect.
1) Is the 'face' that we show to the world and is Open.
2) Is the part that is Hidden, that we disclose through choice.
3)Is the section we do not know and we learn about, and is our Blind Area.
4)Is the Unknown Area that even we are not aware of.

The more we learn about ourselves, and the way we respond, the better the insight we gain into our own psychological development, and perhaps the better we can handle problems as they occur in our lives....

Moving Forward......

People are complex, that is just a natural part of our psychological make up, and taking this Course really opened my eyes to just how truly complex we can be. No wonder Counsellors will always have a position to fill...

I completed my studies much wiser than I had been, and still far from an expert in the field, but somewhat enlightened....I had discovered so much about myself, about my own strengths and weaknesses, it was an insightful journey.
To be a good Counsellor, you must address all your own demons before you attempt to help heal others, it is very much a case of 'Physician, heal thyself'.

I think that I have grown from this experience, and I hope that I can put it to good use should someone need to just talk, because I now truly know the value of being able to listen...
This is only a very minor insight into the complex world of Counselling, I have touched on it very lightly, but I do hope that I have included some of the most important parts of it.

There are people out there, much wiser than I, who are there to help, if you need to talk...Just never be afraid to open up... And you never know, it could make all the difference...

Links to related page;


Johari's Window.

The Wounded Healer.


Photo Credit; Jeroen Van Oostrom (Girl Listens With Hand At Ear)
Photo Credit: Nuttakit (Back To School Blackboard)
Photo Credit: Graur Codrin (Mask)
Photo Credit: Idea go (Silhouette Misty)


College, Communication, Counselling, Empathy, Evening Classes, Joharis Window, Listening, Masks, Non-Judgemental, Songbird B, Talking

Meet the author

author avatar Songbird B
Hi there! I am Songbird B, and I am a semi-pro female Jazz vocalist. I have a huge passion for Jazz music, and I love writing Poetry, which I have done all my life. I am very Spiritual in my beliefs, and love Photography, Music and Garden Design....I...(more)

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
12th Mar 2011 (#)

I hear you, or rather I am listening, this page is so wonderful with a different tune.

I am seeing through Johari's Window, that make me open to new ideas and expands my horizons.
Keep it up.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
12th Mar 2011 (#)

everyone hears but not everyone listens - so true.

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author avatar Songbird B
12th Mar 2011 (#)

Thank you Rathnashikamani and Mark, for your comments, I do hope that this article touches a chord within those who read it..This is only my 'take' on this subject, a personal view, but I hope that it helps stimulate interest...Thank you both for visiting my page, your comments are much appreciated...Thank you Mark, for moderating this page...

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author avatar richardpeeej
12th Mar 2011 (#)

You have spoken some very wise words here Songbird. These will sound a note with most people I imagine, including myself. Thanks for sharing this and for enlightening me in areas I know virtually nothing about.

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author avatar Carol
12th Mar 2011 (#)

Very insighful article. My daughter is a counsellor, and the way you describe empathy, that is certainly her.

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author avatar Songbird B
13th Mar 2011 (#)

Thank you Richard, for your kind, supportive words my friend...Carol, I have just read your life story, and respect you and the support you have shown me, more than words can say....Bless you my friend...

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author avatar Jonathan
15th Mar 2011 (#)

Very interesting article, a well deserved starpage. The suicidal man at the bar would have missed out on a lot of things in life if it wasnt for you listening to him, i guess. Going back to school at the age of 45 says alot of positive things about the person doing that, the way I see it. Keep singing your songs, Songbird!

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author avatar Songbird B
15th Mar 2011 (#)

Hello Jonathan! Why bless you for your feedback my friend! We should never stop learning, always push ourselves a little bit harder, it helps keep us young...lol

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author avatar Humza
16th Mar 2011 (#)

GREAT work songbird, star page is very well deserved!
Great topic to pen down ur thoughts on, moreover the area "psychology" that u have tapped is alot more interesting and weird at the same time as it reveals the complex human nature!
very true we r this much complex but we dot even know it!
There are very few ppl who really lend an ear to what u say or in other words LISTEN to u and if u find one, ur lucky enough!
No one is interested in whats going on in ur life!!!
Very nice song bird, u know what AM FOLLOWING U!
Finally. am happy!!
THanks alot!

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author avatar Humza
16th Mar 2011 (#)

oh am already followong u :P

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author avatar Justlooking
19th Mar 2011 (#)

Very interesting Sb, I too am a people lover...I wonder why I can be so afraid of them? :-(

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