This seems to be a rough week for everyone when it comes to emotional stuff. A close friend reveals they are depressed for the first time in their life. Another is a raw nerve, hypersensitive to the usual crap that seems to always happen but never go away. Another is struggling with relationship issues they hoped wouldn’t happen, but did anyway. So many people seem to be struggling.
And then there’s me. A guy. A typical guy in that I want to DO something to help these folks. Relieve their pain, find a solution, a way out, something to help.
But in cases like these, I can’t do that. I have to do what in the past had felt like doing nothing. I have to stand back and let the situation be what it is. From my “old me” perspective, I have to do nothing.
But the newer me, the one I am trying to embrace and develop, can do something. Something that seems so illogical to the old me that it’s almost absurd.
I can be there.
I can listen.
I can empathize.
I can refrain from offering solutions.
And I can send pictures of cute baby animals when they are requested.
I’m finding that this takes practice and time. My gut wants to offer solutions or try to understand. But most, possibly all, of the time, I can’t do those things. They don’t help the person who is having a hard time… In fact they help ME feel better because I’ve been able to offer a solution to their problem!
How incredibly selfish.
Selfish because in their time of needing acceptance, acknowledgement, and understanding, by offering a solution they are getting none of that.
So I’m learning, by doing nothing that helps me, I’m doing something that greatly helps them. It’s almost an art form that takes practice to master. The art of doing nothing.