On the benefit of talking

Talk and Listen. Good for the body and soul

What is better to a lone soul than a long talk with an attentive listener? I think that depression combined with neurosis stems from a void of human touch both in sensory stimulation and emotional satisfaction, the powerful synergy of making you feel euphoric. No drugs, no costly visits to a counselor or psychiatrist is necessary if you have someone who can listen to you and talk to you considerately.

To illustrate, some days ago I had a long talk with someone who was also in my age and of same birthplace. Not that do I circumscribe a specific nationality and age group to confabulate with, but I feel more comfortable and understood with empathy in talking to someone who shares the same cultural backgrounds and social circumstances. Thus I enjoyed my long conversation with her on that day.


She told me that as a young, single Korean woman living alone in the States, she had been feeling lonely, desperate, and depressed against her vivacious character she had once been in Korea. But the most brilliant thing that she did to rescue herself from falling into an ugly spiral of depression was to go outside and actively explore the world literally. First, she started learning yoga near her house. Second, she tried to talk to people in her workplace and in her classroom. Third, she let her anxiety lessen by not taking everything seriously. Simple and Clear. That’s the way it should be. Of course, I heard all of the aforesaid from some well-meaning people, but these simple methods did not seem to work on me quite well because after all, those well-meaning people were of different places in the world I did not feel closely connected to. Yet, the words from her had so much impacts on me that I suddenly felt rejuvenated and uplifted.

We all need someone to talk and listen to.

The eminent psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankle in his autobiographical Recollections tells a story of a young Jewish woman in a concentration camp during World War II; she always kept an inspiring passage from Psalm to keep her spirit enduring against all forms of inhumanity that you and I could not possibly think of. Nonetheless, one day she committed suicide because she couldn’t bear them, couldn’t take them any longer. From this incident, Frankle points out to us that wisdom without human touch alone cannot save a soul. Indeed so. You can read any inspiring passage or quotation from a notable person with underlines over and over, but if it does not come in a human form, then it is not effective enough to change your mode of thinking, your weltanschuung, your life. I realized it tangibly.

But this does not mean that you cadge sympathy or empathy from ANYBODY. You have to see if your listener is trustworthy to divulge your innermost feelings in your mind. So be mindful of whom you will talk to. Be selective, as William Shakespeare wisely advises to us, “Love all. Wrong to none. Trust a few.”


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