How listening affects you?

Stories are an excellent way to inform and teach. Be it any subject, there are different stories available that can be passed on. The abundance of stories also brings in a contradicting factor into the light. If you analyze some of these stories side by side, they will confuse you. One might negate the effect of another. Take the case of pathos. Two stories come to my mind.

The first one is about a man returning to his house after a hard day. On his way back, he always stops by a tree in front of his house. After halting, he shares the day's burdens with the tree. When his share of troubles is over, and there is nothing more to discuss, he returns to his house. As he shares the worst part of his day with the tree, he is rejuvenated and happy to spend time with his family. He doesn't take work home.

The second one is about an angry man. He always vents his frustration at a plant by verbally abusing it. As the cycle of abuse continues, the plant withers and dies with a span of days. Nobody can survive an onslaught of constant abuse. As a result, we crumble in the face of incessant criticism. No matter how hard we try to ignore setbacks and race ahead, these difficulties do manage to inflict damage to our armor. Sooner or later, it weakens us.

Now if we lay these two stories side by side, it confuses us. Both of the narratives use the tree and the plant as surrogates for good listeners. In one story, we focus on the person who confides while the second one shows us what happens to the listener. It makes me wonder what happened to the tree. Did it stand tall after absorbing all the burdens or did it crumble under the strain of the open talks?  That is the conundrum caused by listening to many stories.

Picking up this thread on the fate of the tree, I have a question for you. Do you have a person to whom you confide your fears and burdens? Have you ever wondered what goes in that person's mind after taking in all our problems? I have listened to a confession from a good listener. "The problem is everyone willingly shares their issues with me. Now, all these are bottled in me. I don't know what to do". Although I don't have an answer to this question, I have a suggestion. If you do lean on someone with your problems, do a role reversal for one. Why don't you be the active listener?

Picture Courtesy: Fe Ilya