We all have questions everyday. What time should I eat lunch? Should I call my mom today? Should I plan a trip?
Some of us have questions like: When do I walk away from this relationship? When do I let this family member go? When do I accept this situation?
I also have questions like: When should we stop treatment? Am I strong enough to endure this? Is this life worth living? Do I have to defend my grief? Why won’t you help me through my grief? Why won’t you be honest with me?
If we pretend things are okay, will that eventually be true or are we lying to ourselves? Many of us pretend things are okay on the outside, when we are falling apart on the inside. But when it comes to people, I can’t fake it. With people I love, I want to open and honest. I want us to lay it all out, air it out, get everything out, so we can move forward on a clean slate. I truly want things to be okay, not just seem okay.
Many months ago I was having a conversation with my friend Kayla. She was feeling overwhelmed with life. I proceeded to give her ways to cope and to fix things. She informed me that wasn’t what she needed. She just needed someone to listen.
For me, that was hard to do. I like to help people fix stuff. I like to fix my own stuff. But she changed that. I try my very best to listen. Being able to shut your mouth and listen to people is a great asset to have. It isn’t always easy. It’s something I relate to now more than ever too. I don’t want people to try to fix my infertility. Nothing will ever fix how I feel or change what I’ve been through. I just want them to listen.
I know that for a lot of us, wanting to fix stuff is our way of helping people. Sometimes, that is exactly what we need. But most of the time, we just want someone to listen, validate how we feel, and let us know that we are not alone.
Phrases like “I’m so sorry.” and “I’m here for you.” and “What can I do?” are wonderful things to hear. Do not ask someone what you can do if you don’t plan on following through. There isn’t much that hurts me more or makes me more angry than someone who agrees to do something and then never follows through. For myself, I want to do whatever I can to help someone. Most of the time, I try to do it without even asking what they need. Which can be very helpful because I can make the person feel extremely cared for without them asking. Or it can be hurtful when I do something that isn’t what they need at that time.
Some of us adjust, heal, and forgive faster than others. I forgive quickly. Not everyone works that way. The speed of healing isn’t the same for everyone which is okay. But how long do I wait around for someone else to heal all the while it’s hurting me? Can I wait forever? I want to mend relationships as quickly as possible. We never know how much time we have left to make it right. Why do we wait? Why don’t we say what we need to now?
When I question someone and want to talk through stuff with them, it’s because I care. I want to mend what is broken. I don’t do it to make the situation worse or to make them hurt. But sometimes people can take it as being attacked and they get defensive instead of seeing it as me being caring. They can’t see I’m hurting because they hurt. So they fight back.
I have a real problem giving up on anything. I find it truly hard to walk away. There a few things in my life that are up in the air right now. But when it is time to give up on them? I think sometimes you feel it and you just know. Other times you take leap of faith in one direction or the other. Sometimes you feel really good about it and other times, you get slapped in the face and have no idea why you tried it one more time. Even after being hurt terribly, my first reaction is to try again. I must be addicted to pain. I keep going back for more time after time after time.
How do you know when enough is enough?