Chapter 13: The Same Shoes
Imagine loving an invisible concept.
Existing in the millennial era of debt, joblessness, and an odd knack for elusive feelings is odd. People graduate, some continue school, others get a job, plenty start a family or get married, but then there is the few who are left questioning the whole system. Sure life might hit you with bricks, and then a few walls but you're supposed to smile and be happy with it right? If its possible to picture me, a five-foot pink haired fairy, hurling the entire planet into the sun then its possible you can empathize with how exhausted I am with my experiences being invalidated.
Picture sitting back, pouring a glass of whiskey, preparing your soul to unburden something that's been bothering you for some time. As soon as those words part your lips, and the feeling of vulnerability is a second skin, the first words you hear are "Oh that's nothing". Better, you hear something along the lines of let me tell you a story of how I have it worse. These words come in many forms, and from many different types of people. I've personally experienced this in every flavor of dismissal. The spicy flavor from blood relatives who carry the title of family. The bittersweet flavor in friends, though many of those folk are no longer that. The sour flavor from lovers with only self-interest in mind. Let's be real, Pillow Talk is the perfect space to dismiss someone after you achieved that magic O.
A Mile in My Magic Shoes
Talking with friends and family should never be a therapy session. I'm sure everyone might not have a therapist in their immediate circle. Perhaps therapy is expensive, which is equally as understandable. Often we rely on those around us to ease the emotional labor we experience. It's pretty easy to unload on those close to us. There are two things we forget when it comes to being a listening ear. The first no one is required to listen unless they honestly have a license to practice therapy. The second is, the moment that you do choose to listen, remember how important that is that you are. The few words you say in that span of time can mean life or death for someone you care about.
When conversing with anyone remember that it's not a competition to see who has it worse. It's really not. A simple concept, but often not thought of. We can listen to one another without making it a race for the most tragedy or a race for who is living better. When we learned to socialize, did we never learn to listen? To sit down, and let someone speak without having the urge to make it about ourselves. To sit, and wait for a person to speak and process without immediately jumping to something negative.
As someone with empathetic qualities and skills, listening has rarely been a problem for me. I suppose in part, its why as an adult why I felt such sorrow once i realized how few actually listen. "You haven't walked a mile in my shoes" a phrase I came, to hate. A passive saying that told the listener anything you say is minuscule cause you aren't me. No matter what it is. You know nothing, because of what? Experience is not always acquired by years lived. People have gone through hardships at every age, and unfortunately in every way. Rebuking those person feelings or the safety they felt to share with you over some perceived accolade is ridiculous.
It's not a competition. Burn that into your mental code. Making a competition out of, trauma, stress, illness, mental health, or complaints is cruel. People process things in different ways and at different speeds. Stop assuming that because you went through something worse, that the person who is sharing with you is going to process their experience the same way you did. Just stop. Learn to listen. Stop dismissing peoples experiences, it's selfish and harmful. The most dangerous thing in humanity is speech. The words we use create impact, whether it be positive or negative. The power of life and death lies on our tongue right?
Just consider, how often you don't listen to the people in your life. Consider how dangerous your mouth is, and how closed off your heart is to the people you care about. - stressed and dressed well Empress Jade
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