Shut Up, Sometimes

How To Respond To Other Peoples Situations

I really enjoy writing Afrologik. From it’s inception, I’ve grown with each article, and, according to the feedback that I get, so have my readers! I am extremely grateful for that, because growth, has always been the purpose of this blog — we all grow together, and I think that’s amazing! However, with growth, comes change, and sometimes that change is difficult to adjust to, but we do. Still, we continue to be who we are, and evolve in spite of what may be going on around us.

Some of us have support systems, while some of us don’t. Ironically, those who don’t, often find themselves being a pillar for someone — or everyone else. It’s kind of sad to be a person who cries in private, or scream in empty rooms, because no one is there. No one really checks up on them; or worst of all, those who feel a need to advise on things that they have no experience with. In that type of environment, it seems much easier to deal with our situations without reaching out to those who are closest to us — those we trust the most. Although that seems easier, it’s not healthy.

The Questions

Usually, I’m pretty cool. I’m there for those who need me in any way that I am able to to be — and I’m not complaining. I really don’t mind at all. Especially with people who are in conflict with themselves, because I’m all too familiar with that. So, I’m willing to at least be there for anyone in that situation, whether I know them or not. I don’t offer advice, unless I’m asked. Just because a person is struggling with something, does not necessarily mean that they are seeking advice.

What I have found effective with helping others who are in trying situations, is to ask appropriate questions that allow them to figure things out on their own. If you are a person who is often leaned on for support, try this technique. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

The Problem With Advice

The reason why why advice doesn’t work, is because it is usually given at the wrong time. Trying to reason with an emotional person is akin to fighting fire with fire — there can be no progress. In many situations, when a person comes to us with their problems, they’re not necessarily interested in our take on it. There are cases when those people only want to vent, or a hug. More times than you would probably realize, they want someone to talk to who will listen and respond with something like: “That’s messed up. I’d be mad too. Let’s go kick their asses!”. Of course, you’re not going to go out and engage in violence (I hope), but sometimes, people who are having an emotional breakdown of any sort, only want to know that they are not alone in how they are feeling.

Humans Are Not Very Smart

And that’s exactly why they usually should not give advice (unless asked). We are all growing and learning together. Every one of us are a work in progress — subject, as well as prone to error. Sharing experiences is helpful, but none of us are truly qualified to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do. When asked, don’t speak authoritatively, because you’re not an authority. You’re just another human being living the human experience.

Don’t Internalize. Find An Outlet

As said earlier, I’m cool most of the time, but I’m human, so things pile up on me from time to time. I have people in my life who are there for me, but not many who “get it“. Most assume the aforementioned roles: adviser, authority, the smart one. So, I’d find myself crying to myself, and screaming in empty rooms (that’s how I knew to use those examples earlier…lol!). It’s also how I know that it doesn’t work. It’s a form of internalizing.

During those times, I compare myself to a bottle of pop (soda for some of you) that has been shaken, continuously. When someone takes the top off, there’s going to be a mess. This is exactly why internalizing is no good. Eventually, somehow, that top is going to come off. With that being said, you’ve got to find a way to let go — with or without the help of others.

Here’s What I Do

What works for me, is the tub. I simply take a soak. While lying in the tub, I stare at the ceiling, and I work things out. As I do with others, I begin to ask myself questions, and I keep asking until I run out of answers — without the unwelcome interruption of advice, ideas, and statements, that have the potential to make things worse. Sometimes, I’m able to devise an action plan that makes me feel better, and many times, I find solutions to what is bothering me. I’m not suggesting that anyone should make this exercise a practice, I’m only saying that it works for me.

Be A Friend To Yourself First

Sometimes, you have to be your own best friend, and treat yourself as well as you treat those who depend on you in any capacity. Understand that those who cannot be what you need, when you need them to be, does not mean that they are bad people — or even bad friends. They’re only doing what THEY believe is the right thing. I’m sure that we have all done this at some point.

Find A Way That Works For You

When something doesn’t feel right with you, find a way to deal with it. Don’t keep it inside. I have a therapist, and dig this: she never gives advice! Yet, I always feel better when I leave her office. And on my down days when I don’t have an appointment with her, there’s always the tub. Find what works for you!

Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it”

~Benjamin Franklin

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