If you’re anything like me, you are the type of person who wants to solve the world’s problems. You got a problem? Come here, lemme fix it for you. People are naturally drawn to me because of my caring heart and love to tell me all about the shit they are going through, have gone through or demons they are still battling.
For the most part, I do love to listen and sincerely want to help. Now we all know, you can’t “help” anyone. They need to help themselves. We can offer gentle advice, recommend a few things maybe, but the rest is up to them.
Awhile back though I learned a very interesting lesson. Not everyone wants you to fix their problems. Sometimes they just want you to listen. That’s it, that’s all.
They don’t want your advice and they definitely don’t want to hear those old boring bullshit cliches. You know the ones. “Oh you’ll be ok” “Things will be better tomorrow” oh, and my most favourite one “well everything happens for a reason you know”. Please just stop.
Now the healer in me wants to fix you, but a friend gently reminded me that when people come to you to vent, whine and bitch, they don’t necessarily want you to offer any type of “fixitallsolutions”. Nope. They just want you to listen. Offer a caring “Oh I’m so sorry” every now and then but other than that, shut up.
Just shut up and listen? I had a hard time wrapping my head around that one. Shut up? Just nod and say I’m sorry?
Ya, that was a hard pill for me to swallow
…but then one day I totally got it.
One day when I was in the midst of my own bullshit issues I just needed to scream and cry and needed someone to listen. I definitely didn’t want to hear advice. Especially, do NOT tell me I’m going to be ok and everything happens for a reason. Shut the fuck up.
I just wanted my wounds licked, a rub on my back and a friendly, caring ear. And I have a friend I can do that with and I so appreciate her. That’s when I understood the fact that people just want an ear, not advice.
I trust you!
When people come to you to vent or cry, they come to you because they trust you, they appreciate you and they respect you. They know that they can pour their heart and soul out to you because a) you won’t go around and tell the world their problems and b) your compassionate energy makes them feel safe.
People just want to feel safe and know they have someone to trust. Take some pride in knowing that they have chosen you to be that person. Don’t try to fix them, just hold their hand, give them a warm hug and listen.
We all know the deeper root of our problems. We already know what needs to be fixed and what still needs to be healed. We also already know what we need to do.
Some of us are actually afraid to heal because that requires hard work and change. Change is scary as hell. It’s easier to stay in misery and enjoy our own pity party.
Eventually, we get tired of staying in misery, get tired of listening to the sound of our whine. We do get to a point where we know that it’s time. Time to fix ourselves
…but in the meantime
We all still need one or two people who will listen to us. Let us cry and whine without the ridiculous advice that we’re not gonna follow anyway. Next time someone reaches out to you to “talk”, practice just listening.
Just shut up and listen. One day we’ll be ok. We already know that.
xo iva xo