“I’m tired.” She said, as she flopped across the couch. “You’re tired? Let me tell you about my day and all of the hard work that I do!” her roommate responded.
How many times have you participated in, or heard of, a similar exchange as the one above? If you are like me, probably more times than you can even count. As imperfect humans, we have the tendency to take other people’s moments to express their feelings, as a time to out shine them with our own feelings. When we do this, what we are essentially saying is that ‘your feelings/thoughts are not nearly as valid as mine’. Many of us have had this exchange with loved ones, family members and friends that we care deeply for. The last thing that we want to do is invalidate their feelings. However, that is exactly what we do when we fail to give them the space to express.
As imperfect people living in an imperfect world, we must do our best each day to make someone’s load a little easier. Someone’s world a little brighter. And believe it or not, it starts with the little things. Some of the best connections are made when we simply listen. Intentionally. With no response to give. Only listening and holding the space for that person that needs a moment to express whatever is on their heart.
The next time you are in this situation, I challenge you to provide some of the best therapy, by being a good listener. No need to insert your thoughts or feelings into the atmosphere. Be a safe place for a person who needs it. And you will be amazed at how many safe, listening ears you find, the next time that you are in need of one.
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