when listening feels like drowning

 

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I find one of the hardest things for me to do is hear someone I care about, tell me the gruesome details of the pain they are experiencing. Firstly, because I immediately want to fix it, change it, talk them out of it or all the above. It’s my nature to nurture and I also admittedly have an ego about saving everyone. Call it codependency or a fairy godmother complex, but I want to help you, all of you.

Secondly, I prescribe to the philosophy that negativity breeds more of the same. Energy is infectious, and I fear your problems will bleed all over me and make my life suffer. That being said, being a good friend is one of the most important roles one can take on – for your friends as well as you. We benefit in every way from giving and caring, but here’s the lesson. Good listening goes a long way.

We all need to be seen and heard and the lack of that alone, in many childhoods, has caused neurosis and serious damage. I often say to my husband, just tell me what you are feeling, and it will change your reaction to it. I believe we all should let it out and see how that changes the power you’ve given the situation and yet lately, I’ve been afraid to listen to others spew.

The question is, where do we draw the line between healthy mirroring and being a victim of a barrage of negative whining. I want to know, and I also want to practice. And I want others to see and hear me. Being witnessed, ah. It’s key but beware of not only dumping but also perpetuating the negative wave that can take you and others down like a tsunami.

 

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