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Been there, done that? So use this with caution!

We humans are born naturally competitive and even though I have no final saying on the reason why, I believe it is to feed our needs to evolve. We all go through moments of glory and happiness and moments of failures and sadness… In addition, we ALWAYS have a thing or two to say that would completely steal that moment from the other party.

Would you like an example? How many times do you say: “Been there, done that” or “I told you so” when someone confides a problem or a situation to you seeking relief and understanding? Guilty? So am I…

So what is the problem with this? Here is the problem… You have only “been there and done that” because you once tried something in your life and failed, and because of that, you know more and you are who you are today…

Also, the only reason why you are able to say, “I told you so” today is because you once did not want to hear advices yourself, for whatever reason, and you went all in despite the “most knowledgeable” advices given by others…

Do you see where I am going here? To be the one knowing today or the one to give advices, you HAD to be wearing that person’s shoes once, so do not steal that moment from the learner.

Want some examples?

Person venting: “I’ve been waiting for a nice person to show up in my life for years… I am so tired of waiting and only meeting bad apples…”

The learner blocker: “Oh, I waited for my loved one to show for 30 years and look now? Your time will also come my dear…”

What did you mean to do? You meant to be nice and give the person a peace of mind.

What did you really do? You just stole the learning experience from that person making you become the one that suffered so much more waiting and by doing that, you just stole the spotlight. It sounds something like “you see??? You are not the only one, your frustration is nothing special, I had to wait too.”

We don’t realize this but we do it all the time.

Want another example?

Person venting: “I just made the same mistake and trusted the wrong person with my idea and this person betrayed me and stole my idea… It was MY idea… I feel so stupid for being naive…”

The learner blocker: “I don’t want to say I told you so, but I did. If you would only listen, but no, you do whatever comes to your head, you never listen…” (This usually keeps on going for a couple of minutes until the spotlight thief gets tired)

Guess what? You only know how to listen to others today (if you actually do) because you also, one day had your ears clogged… You also repeated and repeated your patterns until the day you were able to let go and make a change. No one else did that for you, you had to be the one to learn.

So, the next time someone comes complaining about their day or something they did wrong, try listening, try understanding… Try to be silent and listen for a moment l instead of throwing your logic in that moment of pain. You healed yours; this one is still current, so respect the other’s pain.

It is not easy, I am myself still learning how to keep my mouth shut sometimes. Sympathizing to others pain is harder than it seems sometimes, so exercise your understanding while the other is allowed to exercise the moment of learning. Instead of explaining how you also felt and bringing your experience to the table, try feeling what the other is feeling and let them feel. Instead of words, use a hug. Instead of words give them a smile that silently says it is going to be okay… We all have our moments and the hardest thing to find nowadays is someone to just… Listen!

Coach Cris Repolês.



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