First Things First

I once interviewed a hospice minister. One thing he said left an impression on me that has, through the years, been a gem of Truth that I need to never forget. I have to remind my self of it, especially when I feel confused.

Instead of answering my questions, he totally turned the table and focused on me. When I caught on, he said:
" First lesson: know who you are talking to." Fogetting to honor the other first can be sad, or dangerous. Honoring doesn't mean agreeing. Honoring doesn't mean devaluing me. It means being fully present and seeing the fullness of the complexity of the other being in front of you and responding consciously, thoughtfully, appropriately.

Ego must take its proper place , and its purpose within. It always wants to be first, but seldom has the wisdom to answer well.
vibrante vibrante
41-45, F
3 Responses Dec 1, 2012

Your friend is blessed to have you in his life. Compassionate listening is a great way to show you care. The fact you take the time to think about him and go see him is a blessing to him, and you. Hope his recovery goes well.

So true, we need to know who we are talking to. Super advice.
Bless you.

Thanks I often have to remind myself. I can be self- centered at times. I can forget the impact of what I am sharing on the person. When someone is ill, grieving, in shock or traumatized, the ways they are responded to can either comfort, or wound further.

You know something, I am looking at myself at the moment. I have been exactly like what you have said (self centred). I have been so good at telling others what to do and tell them where they are going wrong. I will need to take a step back, and listen to a close friend who has had stroke. I have been helping him no doubt, but just listening is a great virtue.

I really like this advice, it is so true and something to really think about.