Yesterday, someone who I needed to listen to me, listened to me.
It felt amazing.
Now this wasn’t a personal chat, and it wasn’t in my professional capacity either, it was a situation of me, as service user to another person, service provider. I went into the conversation knowing that I needed them to be flexible and to be willing to understand the situation and to respond, not with care or compassion, but with action.
To be honest, I held out little hope.
I’m sorry to say this but I’ve found that many people who work in human services,or in health care providing, really, really, don’t like people much.
Not even a little bit.
I had had to talk to three people.
The woman who answered the phone, she was nice, very nice, her attitude and her voice were welcoming.
My confidence increased.
I was put to the next person, a gatekeeper.
She responded twice in such a way that I knew that she had not heard me. The situation that she spoke about in her response was not the situation I found myself in. I took a breath, calmed myself, and stated again the situation and the need. This time she heard and she said, “Well, I understand, I’m not going to be the person to say ‘no’ … let me put you through to someone who may be able to help.”
OK, it took a bit but she heard me, and she saw that the situation was a little unique.
I got to the next person.
She head the request, but not the situation and said, “Unfortunately …” then she paused and said, “tell me why you are asking, I don’t think I heard it properly.” I told her. She said, “Give me a couple of minutes.” She was gone for way longer than ‘a couple of minutes’ when she picked up the phone she said, “OK, we’re going to be able to do that for you.”
I was stunned.
She had, just as she was saying ‘no,’ begun to process the circumstance that prompted the request. Then she asked to hear it again. Then, and I almost can’t believe this … she took action.
I left that situation and the service provider part of my brain took note. It matters to hear requests all the way through, it matters to listen, it matters to take action.
It really matters.
I felt that I mattered, and my unique, individual, life mattered.
And that’s why it matters.