I had a bit of an emotional meltdown last night. It was bad enough that I actually found myself sobbing as I showered, praying to God, asking why things have to be so damned hard!

What brought on this flood of grief? I’m not sure. I think it was a collection of things. Being with my loved ones for so many consecutive days, and then finding myself back in my work imposed isolation.

I think the main reason was that I’m tired!

I posted on Facebook, “sometimes being the strong one sucks”. I didn’t elaborate and I received several comments that seemed to further my frustration. So much so that I even deleted some.

I was feeling selfish and alone. Tired of feeling like I am always expected to shoulder the burdens of others, only to find that same luxury is never afforded to me.

Don’t get me wrong; Julie is a rock. She is strong and more than willing to lend an ear when life gets overwhelming. But, who wants to always dump on their spouse?

I have friends who will call me with problems about their love life, fears about work, trouble that just won’t seem to let up.

I listen. I try to be gentle and sincere. I seldom offer advice about the subject, specifically, because a lot of times my friends need a boost to their self confidence more than a quick response, in passing.

I send flowers to friends who need a quick smile to brighten their day. An easy way for me to remind them, “you are important”.

I text to say, “how do you feel today?” days after we’ve had our chats so they know that their worries really do matter.

But…I’m the strong one.

I’m the one with the broad shoulders and stiff upper lip. The one who doesn’t give up or quit: not on tasks, dreams, goals or especially, people.

I have all the answers. Or do I?

I called a friend last night after my meltdown and found myself trying to force her to listen. I mean really listen and HEAR what I was saying. “NO, NO, NO! Anita, that’s not what I’m saying!”

People have become so accustomed to “tough love” that they don’t hear what others are trying to say.

When a friend calls and says, “I can’t understand why he won’t open up to me!” What I hear is, “what is it about me that he doesn’t trust or want?”

When a friend shuts down and lashes out saying, “I just don’t want to deal with this right now!” What I hear is, “I’m hurt and confused. I don’t know what to do!”

Sometimes I need to be able to pick up the phone and just have the other person “hear” me. I’m pretty blunt and direct. I am good about knowing what my feelings represent and what triggered them. And I have little problem with vocalizing that.

When I say, “I’m hurt because she was my friend!” It means I’m hurt because she was my friend. There’s no need to tell me, “let it go. Move on. Forget this!” Because those are just empty words uttered out of a need to feel like you’ve solved an easy problem with an easy solution.

We are living in a world where we don’t “hear” people anymore. We see others problems and issues from our own selfish perspective and most days, that doesn’t fit.

We’ve stopped listening to what others say and simply wait for a chance to respond: without compassion, without thought, without love.

Sometimes…most times…I don’t need advice. I don’t need someone to tell me how to fix my problems. I just need someone to HEAR what I’m saying!


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