Sunday, October 25, 2015

Confessions: when you want to live somebody else's life for them

When I have intimate relationships with people, I love them with all I have.
My friends are my life. They make me who I am, they make me better, and they feed my soul on a daily basis.

My friends, like everyone else in the world, go through hard trials. And me, being the controlling person that I am, would like to jump into the driver's seat of their life and try to steer them the "correct" way.

My fiancé, for example, is in the process of finding a new car after his car was totaled in the middle of the night by a texting driver. This is a new process for him, as he hasn't really had to search for cars on his own yet. With me being in class constantly, I'm often helpless to assist him in battles with dealerships and it really bothers me. This car situation has been such a source of stress to him and all I want is to take it away. However, me stressing about getting rid of the stress has essentially added unnecessary stress to the situation. Me feeling like I need to have control over my fiancé's problem has added more problems. In this situation, I reverted back to some old tendencies of mine.

I've always been this way. At first, people called me the "lecturer" because anytime anyone would do anything remotely bad I would tell them all the reasons why thats going to put them down a bad path. I lost a lot of friends this way. Because when people are going through something hard and they don't feel like they have control over their life and actions, the last thing they want to hear is how everything that they are doing is wrong.

I learned this the hard way, unfortunately. And I've been on a journey of trying to recalibrate my judgmental words to those who I love and transform them into words of support and love.
But that still doesn't change the gut-wrenching feeling of "I want to change your life for you".

When I love you, I feel what you feel.
For a long time, I thought it was a curse, but today I see it as a gift. The ability to feel empathy is a gift. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this world who are unable to feel empathy, for whatever reason. But the heartbreak and confusion that my friends face, is something that resonates within me too. Sometimes I lose sleep over it, overcome with the idea that someone I love is probably losing sleep over that broken place in their life.

While I cannot fully understand all the inner conflictions and sensitivities of everyone, I still want to try to. Thats why I dig into people. I frequently ask "Penny for your thoughts" because I truly, truly do want to know your thoughts. I want to be a listener and I want to give advice when asked for it and I want to be a support when it feels like no one else is supporting.

Its a struggle, however, because most people don't want to give their thoughts. Sometimes thoughts are bad, are hard to swallow, and really, really, depressing. But those thoughts are real.
I'm in a place in my life where all I crave for is real, honest-to-God, authentic humanity. Even if its dirty and as far away from perfection as it possibly could be. Even if it hurts.

If I could just reach inside you and pull the inner struggle out of you, I would.
I know what inner struggle feels like. Just because I struggle with things different from you does not make me any less able to feel empathy for you.
I've said this in a post before-- Its still the same struggle.
My pastor once said that its the same struggle because we all struggle to surrender.

You know how hard it is to want to surrender everything to God?
You ask yourself-- how does one even go about doing that?
When you have so many questions and not enough answers, sometimes the only thing you want to surrender is your thoughts.
So, surrender them to someone who wants to listen, whether it is me or another person you trust.
I'm a firm believer that keeping things bottled inside only lets the bad feelings simmer into a pot of mess-up-your-life-stew.

I want to help. I can't live your life for you, though I might want to, but the least I can do is be a confidante. So lets open up to each other.

Lets be real.