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Why do People Repeat Themselves


Have you ever wondered why people repeat the same thing over and over again? This is because their need to be heard has not been met.  I remember one day going to the airport with what I thought was a ticket, only to get to the ticket agent and finding myself with only the itinerary.  Of course, I panicked and I kept repeating over and over again, "I can't believe this; I thought this was my ticket." I calmed down and stopped repeating this only when the ticket agent finally stopped to hear me instead of giving me advice.

A patient of mine kept repeating to me, "My mother says...." (I cannot remember the full sentence). I finally went up to her and said, "Mary, I heard you say that your mother says..." After this she stopped repeating herself. Another patient kept coming to the nursing station and repeating his concerns...i.e. "I am worried about losing my job, I am worried about my dog, I don't want to gain weight etc." I went up to him and said, "Bob, I hear that you are worried about your dog, your house and job and you want to keep your weight in control." After this connection, he stopped coming to the nursing station for the rest of the evening.

Every human being has a need to be heard. And yet, the one thing that I have observed is that we do not hear others! And yet, that is one of the quickest ways to bring relief and calmness to the person.

I came to work today and wanted to express myself and I barely started talking when someone interrupted me and started giving me advice which left me feeling frustrated because I just wanted to be heard which would have given me relief about what was bothering me.

How many times have you experienced this? I remember asking someone if I could talk to him. And he said, "Sure." And when we I started talking, he started talking about his own issue which was similar to mine. However, my heart just sank listening to him talk when I was just looking to express myself so that I could get relief.

Next time someone wants to talk to you, would you be willing to listen to them without giving them advice, consoling them or turning the attention on to yourself?

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