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Updated: Aug 29, 2020

I’m writing this article to share a small experience, more like something that happened a few days ago and the reason I’m sharing it is because I genuinely feel that it can inspire and influence people to think differently, to make the most out of any situation, to be more aware of other people and how they’re feeling and just to stay present. As a budding Psychologist, I was thinking of how I could utilize my time during a pandemic, I thought to myself “so many people must be struggling with loneliness, anxiety, depression or any other negative emotion so what can I do about it?” I mean it’s a pandemic, most of us are used to being around people or being completely work-oriented so this was a huge adjustment. 

I began looking for ways I could help such people, not by advising them but just by providing a listening ear and guiding them through any negative emotion they may be struggling to cope with and after a few days, I was fortunate enough to find something which fit perfectly for me – it’s a small Mental Health Organization under which I am currently working as a writer and a listener. Now you must be wondering “what does she mean by working as a ‘listener’?”. Under my work here, a listener is like a “friend” who people, from absolutely anywhere, can approach over a small platform and just talk. You simply exist to support them in a non-biased and empathetic manner without providing any kind of therapy and counseling. I was made to go through a training process which lasted for about a week – I had to study different ways of communicating, read different case studies, respond to short cases/conversations which was looked upon by a professional and I finally made it through and now I am officially at the stage where I had the opportunity to listen to people, a world in which they probably thought there was no one to listen to them. This was my beginning and I was so grateful. 

I received a message from an individual a few days ago and he was struggling with self-esteem issues, he questioned his worth, he felt that he was not good enough and he felt that he did not deserve to be happy. We live in a world which tends to invalidate people, put them down, treat them like they don’t matter, pass their negative opinions towards someone who is just trying to do their best, people who don’t take into consideration how important the factor of Mental Health plays every day in all of our lives. It’s not necessary for people to develop self-esteem issues on their own, it could also be a CAUSE of something being said to them or from the way they were treated. No one experiences pain without a cause either, and when you are unable to identify the cause of your pain or when no one notices the cause of your pain or just your pain – it becomes a perpetuating cycle and can lead to extreme hopelessness. 

Anyway, coming back, I have been studying a lot of different aspects and techniques, and co-incidentally, I studied a technique that was purely based on self-esteem. I decided to use this with him, it was a long process but he was willing and patient, so I went through it with him. Now what happened next was unbelievable, it was probably the best I have felt for the past couple of days. I told him to write all the factors which already made him worthy, capable, and loved. By the end of the process, an individual who told me he felt unworthy in the beginning came up with EIGHT positive things to say about himself. It was unbelievable. I told him to reflect on all the eight positives and tell me how he felt and guess what he said? “I feel pretty good”. From feeling like he didn’t deserve to be happy or he wasn’t good enough to feeling good in just a span of thirty minutes made me realize JUST HOW IMPORTANT LISTENING TO SOMEONE IS and how much of a difference it can make. Imagine a world where people listen without any judgment, where people are just present with you, without any motive or reason – that is the world we should strive to be in today and every day. 

It’s possible to create change and be the change. You don’t know how much pain a person is experiencing internally regardless of how they come across to be from the outside, you do not know the extent of someone’s suffering and you never will, but you do have the ability to be empathetic, understanding and present, so please just listen. It can make all the difference in the world and my small experience is PROOF of that. 

“In a world where you can be anything, JUST BE KIND”.

Written by - Antara Jain

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