If you can relate to the following, if you have found yourself thinking or saying these words, you’ve been here.
“I feel numb, hollow. I feel like it was a mistake to open up. I feel like I just want to be part of something real and every time I think I’m getting there, it falls apart. And if we were friends before, the friendship’s never quite the same afterwards. Sometimes it’s awkward, stilted, other times it just snuffs out without warning. I know it’ll be OK eventually. I just don’t know if I can trust enough to keep letting people in if they’re just going to knock me for six every single time. I know I’m probably quick to get attached, but even when I don’t start it, one minute everything’s fine and the next it implodes. I’m so tired of it, man, so very tired. Tired of getting blindsided. OK so I’m not the most experienced or savvy person in the world, but surely I must mean enough to someone for him not to be a total jerk? And therein lies the rub. I don’t think I mean enough, if much at all. That’s what hurts the most.”
I wrote the above back in June, felt pretty low at that time. I never thought it’d see the light of a public forum, but maybe we need to reveal our innermost thoughts sometimes. Not because we are whining or wallowing in self-pity, but because we might be able to help others suffering similar angst. All too often when one cries out for solace, you just get empty platitudes in return, or even worse, someone tells you to “get over it”. Like you don’t know that already? *Eye roll*
Listening is an art form. It goes beyond the interpretation of another person’s sound waves. It is more than simply hearing them out and saying something, anything, to move the conversation in a more comfortable/enjoyable direction. It involves actually processing information and providing thoughtful feedback, recognising the emotions behind the words and giving the appropriate responses. Of course if the person says the same things over and over again, feel free to let them know that they might require more professional help than you can deliver so they can get the help they need.
Listen. You never know when it will make a world of difference to a person in need.