Stop, Look, and Listen

Remember when we learned this as kids?  I remember this being used in crossing the road safely.  This has so much more application in life as we grow.  I find this to be especially important in interacting with others.  It is so easy to get too busy to really listen to what others are saying.  We let distractions interfere.  How often do you look at someone talking to you, smile and nod – then walk away and have no recollection of the conversation?  I know I have missed a lot of important information.  I know I have interacted with people that do the same thing to me.  Sometimes you can just tell that what you are saying is not even entering their realm of consciousness.  During those times, it is so tempting to start spouting nonsense – just to see if they will notice.

My job is and always has been detail oriented.  As a nurse, you must stop, look at your patient, and listen to them.  If you don’t, you are going to miss some really important information.  Even now, although I don’t engage in direct patient care, I still must stop, look, and carefully read the information I have been given.  My job now is chart reviews – reading documentation, piecing together a picture of the patient from the words the nurse or therapist are using to write the story, and see whether the story is painting the appropriate picture.  It can be a slow process – the same as slowing down to listen to spoken word.  I rely a great deal on my experience in patient care, and the knowledge I have gained.  And I realize that there is always something new to learn.

I think that it is easy to lose the ability to stop, look, and listen when we allow ourselves to become victims of the “I can do it all” syndrome.  The need to control everything around you, including people; or being led to believe that you are the only one who can save a particular situation contribute to busy-ness.  It also contributes to depriving yourself of self-care.  Not only is it important to stop, look and listen to others – but you must do that for yourself.  Stop, look around and see what is going on around you.  Listen to what you are telling yourself, and what others are telling you.  Is your body telling you that you need a rest?  Are your relationships with family and friends being negatively impacted by over committing to outside sources?

Here’s another question…do you hold yourself to the same standards that you hold others to?  Take this blog, for example.  I can sit here and suggest that you engage in self-care, realize that you can’t and don’t need to control the world, and that life will go on if you tell someone “no”.  It is really hard for me to allow myself that grace.  Something that I constantly work on…thankfully, Bill reminds me often that it’s okay to relax a bit.  You don’t have to feel guilty for putting yourself first – you will be better able to serve others by filling your own cup first.

Look to the Bible…God took a day of rest.  (He also acknowledged that his work was good – but that’s a topic for another discussion.)  I think he was living by example.  Jesus went off on his own to be alone and to pray.  He slept in the boat during the storm.

So this week, give yourself some grace.  Stop, look, and listen.  To yourself.  To others.  Actively listen, make an effort to remember what you hear.  From others and from yourself.  Remember this:  You. Don’t. Have. To. Fix. The. World.  Furthermore:  You. Don’t. Have. To. Control. The. World.

More faith, less worry.  More care, less control.



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