Connecting local responses around the world
As members of The Constellation we aim at making SALT a part of our behaviour. The ‘L’ in SALT stands for listening. But what do we listen for? There are 3 things that we could listen for:
Listen for feelings:
As a volunteer on a suicide helpline, I am trained in ‘active listening’ where we listen to the feelings of the person who is on the call. The feeling of being acknowledged, listened to and understood is a precious gift that we ‘offer’ to our callers on the helpline. Though active listening helps is addressing suicidal intent, isn’t being acknowledged, listened to and understood a basic need for each one of us and the people who we partner with? An example of listening for feeling statement could be as follows
“I can sense that you are extremely angry at the health centre staff for not warning you regarding the side effects of the vaccination and you feel betrayed”
Listen for needs:
Those who are trained in ‘Non Violent Communication’ listen to the underlying needs of people. A summary list of human needs are found in the following link.
As you reflect with the person on their unmet needs and resultant feelings the person feels understood. This can be a foundation for further conversations regarding means to fulfil those needs. Taking the above example forward, listening to needs can be stated as follows:
“I can sense that you are extremely angry at the health centre staff for not warning you regarding the side effects of the vaccination and you feel betrayed. You really wanted to be treated like an equal human being and respected for the wisdom that you have as a mother of this child”
Listen for human capacities:
Human beings are born with innate capacities including care, community, change, hope and leadership. Irrespective of where you find them ( communities, institutions, policy makers, researchers, academics) listening and acknowledging the human capacities of people makes them truly valued and appreciated thus provoking them for further thoughts and actions. Going back to the previous example:
“I can sense that you are extremely angry at the hospital staff for not warning you regarding the side effects of vaccinations and you feel betrayed. You really wanted to be treated like an equal human being and respected for the wisdom and the best intent that you have as a mother of this beautiful child. Due to your sense of care for other mothers you feel that you along with other mothers in the village should be forewarned and educated regarding all vaccinations. How could we support you in rebuilding your trust with the health service programs?”
Next time when you listen, try listening to feelings, underlying needs and human strengths and share your learning with us.