Just this past weekend I had a somewhat older gentleman than myself come up to me while we were on break at my internet marketing course. He had learned about my tinnitus during the course and wanted to speak to me about it.
It turns out that he was a colonel in the military and as such was exposed to loud noises like rapid gun fire and bombing. He began suffering from severe tinnitus 9 years ago and by his account, had also suffered from depression and anxiety.
He was very sincere about his struggle with tinnitus but at the same time I couldn’t help noticing that he wanted to compare his tinnitus with mine. He said things like, “the doctors told me it was one of the worst cases they have ever seen,” and “you can’t possibly understand how bad it is every single day.”
While that may be true, it’s the way he built his ego or identity out of tinnitus that troubles me. You see, when you attach who you are with something like tinnitus it’s the mind’s way of building up itself. It’s the mind’s ego that wants to be different, feel superior or feel victimized. Either way, it’s still EGO.
Children first learn the negative power of the ego when they say things like, “look how fast I can run, I bet you can’t do that!” The mind creeps in at an early age to try and distinguish itself from the rest of the world. It does its best to feel superior, inferior, troubled and even mediocre.
So, when I come across someone like this gentleman, who tries to make his tinnitus more important than mine what should I say to him? How do I help him? I know he’s stuck in a place of ego but I also know that I can’t just blurt out something that I think will help. I have to really think about how “what I say” will be received. It can backfire significantly if I try to help others who don’t want to be helped.
Do you want to know what I said to him? I said, “Are you willing to keep and open mind?” He looked at me confused and asked, “what do you mean?”
I related to him, based on my experience, that keeping an open mind allows me to be open to learning and not be a “know-it-all.” “I’m a learn-it-all,” I exclaimed, “and, as such I am open to allowing into my life whatever knowledge or healing that comes to me.
I also said that I believed he could do this and that I would do my best in the rest of the course to see that any life altering information that I possessed would reveal itself.
Sometimes that’s all you can do. It’s not that he was closed off to learning; it’s just that he was so attached to his tinnitus story that he couldn’t see the forest through the trees. If I had said that he was wrong, or that he was going about it the wrong way it could have easily backfired.
Like I said, sometimes people don’t want to be helped. In that case, all I can do is make small comments like “keep an open mind” when, really all they want to hear is your sympathy. And, as you may know that won’t help them at all. It just feeds their ego even more. Saying things like, “oh that’s too bad, or I feel so sorry for you,” won’t help in any way.
So, how can you use this information in your life and how will it help you? As I’ve mentioned many times before in my articles, the more you help people the more you help yourself. The positive energy that you put out instead of trying to make others wrong or feel inferior will come back to you. What you give out you get back! True? Of course.
Just make it your intention to be a good listener when someone reveals information to you. Then, make it your intention to help. And, if all that is required is to listen and offer small suggestions, based on where the person is as in their life, then that’s what you do.
Don’t try to be superior in any way. Don’t look down on them and think you’re better. Just hold the space for a while and listen. Then, make any comments you feel that are appropriate but you’re your comments on your own experience. Remember, if you don’t show it, you don’t know it.
Paul Tobey is a concert pianist, motivational speaker who discovered a path to healing Tinnitus without medical intervention. His self-help book on reducing Ringing Ears Volume is a popular Ringing in the Ears Download.