It’s tough to not have all the answers. We want to have all the answers, to know the next move, the right thing to do. Unfortunately, we don’t always know these things. It can leave us feeling helpless. I felt that way twice this past weekend. I had two separate friends tell me about two separate things they were dealing with and I couldn’t “fix” either of them.
Of course, we are all responsible for our own lives and the only one who can fix your life is you. And no one comes to me expecting me to fix it for them. However, I’ve grown accustomed to at least being able to give some helpful advice or suggestions. But these two instances were such that there was really nothing I could say to make the situation better for them. I felt as though I were letting my friends down. That was tough for me. I was disappointed in my lack of ability to help and thought that my friends would probably feel the same way. When I lamented this to one of these friends, she wisely told me that “…sometimes we just need to vent…”
Bam. Just like that. Hit in the face with some truth.
Sometimes we just need to vent.
Sometimes we just need to listen.
Sometimes that’s all the help someone needs. Wow.
I learned that while I love it when I can actively help someone with something, part of my role is to just listen. And that is helping. It’s even something that I’ve told my husband before: “Babe, I don’t need you to try to fix anything, I just want to say these things.” I thought I was asking him to do something simple. Just listen to me. Don’t offer suggestions or advice. Just listen. He’s a doer like I am, though, so now I see that I wasn’t making a simple request, I was asking for something more difficult. Even though I’ve been the one who simply needed to vent, I still wasn’t able to just let myself be a listener!
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway
So I have learned something about me, and about my journey. I don’t have to have all of the answers. I will work on being a listener.
Sometimes it’s enough to just listen.