Improving the dialogue can help to reduce the stigma surrounding a number of topics, including mental health, abuse and trauma, and equality and privilege. It is important to let those around us know we are willing to listen and that they can share their issues without judgment or misunderstanding. The taboo nature of these topics only serves to keep them in the shadows, which may result in people not accessing the help they need.
Active listening is one of the greatest skills that an advocate can have. It involves being non-judgemental, engaging in feedback and asking questions, and being patient with the speaker when necessary. The most important goal in active listening is to listen to understand rather than listening to respond. (Very Well Mind)
One of the greatest needs to actively listen is when a person is coming to terms with their own privilege and wishes to advocate for those in a different circumstance. With privilege often comes a belief that we need to defend our position - as if we have done nothing to earn what we have. Putting aside our own feelings and opinions to take in the stories and experiences of others will help to create a more equal playing field in the future. (Everyday Feminist)
Question: How can we show others that we are willing to listen when to comes to difficult and taboo topics?
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