Lent Series

Listening With All Our Heart


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Listening With All Our Heart

by Scott Stoner

When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.—Saint Francis de Sales

Beginning today, and continuing through Friday, I will use the Living Compass Model for Well-Being and its four quadrants of heart, soul, strength, and mind to structure my reflections about listening to our-selves. Today we will focus on the Heart quadrant, which includes our Emotions and Relationships.

As a psychotherapist, I commonly meet with people who initially want help in getting rid of uncomfortable emotions, such as fear, sadness, anger, or anxiety. I typically respond that the most important first step is to begin by listening to what those troubling emotions are trying to say. Our emotions function like the warning lights on a car dashboard, letting us know that there is an underlying issue that may need to be explored and addressed.

Just as it is wise to learn to listen to uncomfortable emotions within our-selves, it is also wise to learn to honor and listen to discomfort if or when it arises in an important relationship in our lives. Ignoring uncomfortable feelings rarely helps them to go away. Instead, gently facing discomfort in a relationship, and risking what initially may be an awkward conversa-tion, can be crucial in deepening and improving the relationship.

Because uncomfortable emotions, either within ourselves or in our rela-tionships, are well, uncomfortable, it is understandable that we might want to avoid them. If we do that, though, often we will find that what we resist, persists, and that what we face, with time and care, can be resolved.

Making It Personal: As you listen to what’s happening right now with your emotions and/or your relationships, what do you hear? If you are experiencing any discomfort, can you sit with it to see what it has to teach you? What do you think of the idea that “what we resist, persists”? 

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