Being There For Others.

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     When we think about being there for people, it seems like a natural human response as long as it’s moderately convenient for us. When we think about being there for a loved one, inhibitions scurry out the door and we tend to drop our own worries for that person in need. Of course, we love them and want to make sure that they are safe. But what cost do we pay when we lose ourselves in the process? In other words, how do we make sure we are there for others without leaving ourselves behind?

     This may relate to the more tender hearts out there who cannot help but extend themselves without so much as batting an eye. Why is it that we put so much emphasis on making sure that others shoes are tied, while forgetting to check that our own laces are intact? It could be that our happiness is weighted so heavily on others happiness-that even if we face plant in the process, we know that the relationship is secure.

“And every time I write, every time I open my eyes, I am cutting out parts of myself simply to hand them over to you.”  -Anis Mojgani

     Removing the most understanding parts of your being in order to hand them away, while simultaneously filling our gaps with pieces of loved ones. Being supportive of someone is to be truly absorbed in them. We care because we feel as though they are one with us, and we start to feel what they feel. It’s the reason that sons and daugthers spend all of their savings and time to make sure that their elderly parents receive the best care--or why parents sacrifice their own needs & sleep to ensure their children go to bed with full bellies and a glimpse of comfort. This topic is one that I think most everyone can relate to, whether or not it reminds you of an instance that took place in your childhood, teen years or has yet to come to fruition in your adult life.

     Sometimes when this type of selflessness is done for someone outside of our family it is seen as naïve an over extension. Knowing where to draw the line becomes a bit fuzzy and can be confusing as to where we should cut the empathy down a few notches. But here is the kicker--what if we could be the support person, while continuing to love and support ourselves in the process.

     We can attempt to do this by beginning to listen, and not just hear what people are saying in order to retort back with a response. We can become acclimated to how they share & how they convey themselves.  Digest their body language, their vocal intensity, their mannerisms. Master the process of listening until you know whether to soak it up in silence or refract. We need to find the balance of becoming a sounding board, and when to integrate our own critique or advice in the conversation- without throwing all of our energy and emotions into it.

      The idea of what it means to truly be there for someone has been exhausted by the physical presence and attention that we place on a matter. In reality, it could mean that “being there,” means making yourself absent, silent. It could mean a phone call where you shift into an auditory embrace or a sound of distraction to their worries.

     Whatever it is, don’t let the fear of losing yourself keep you from finding a healthy way to be a support system for someone who needs it-especially if you know what it is like to go without.

 

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Written By: Hayley Sutherland

Posted on March 27, 2018 .

Don't Trade Authenticity for Approval.

We are born into this world without self-doubt, crippling criticism or fear to hold us back from whaling at the top of our lungs and demanding that all of our needs are met. We know what we want and we are not afraid to let everyone know which parts of us speak the loudest. This is why children intuitively act--without feeling the pressure to apologize for it. Somewhere along the lines we begin to waver on this ultimate self- expression & we become hypersensitive to the opinions of others. It’s is almost as if there is a radio station in our head that only airs the bad news rather than our favorite songs - helping us to reflect on all the good happening in our lives. The more we adjust our “antennas” to pick up on those negative signals, the higher frequency they pour in with.

     Authenticity is the degree to which one stays true to their personality, despite external pressures. Anytime we are acting from the bare essence of our authentic souls, we feel the freest. That is why there’s a feeling of bliss you experience when you get home from the outside world, whip off your restraining attire and let the real you ooze over in your comfort zone. It is a mystery as to why we wait until the moment we’re alone, or in the comfort of those very close to us, to blossom into our genuine existence.  If we can accept our authentic self-why shouldn’t others be able to? Like most everything else in life, this mindset is easier said than done—but the easy route in life is rarely the one that helps us progress.

     This is all something that I recently started to reflect on after going through some changes in my life. There is a part of me that has always realized that being myself is where I am in the best shape to connect with others. But if you find yourself in a toxic situation or mindset, the unique parts of you take a back seat and insecurities can cultivate at an alarming rate. Some folks are able to become aware of this all on their own, and others may be lucky enough to have some honest loved ones who will point it out to you- whether or not you’re ready to acknowledge it. I’m sure we would all love to say that we want the truth over anything else, but often times we hide from it in the fear that we will hear something without the delicious sugar coating. There’s a quote that I read the other day that made the wheels start turning. It said, “If we truly get to know ourselves, it’s impossible to be hurt by what others think of us.”

     I remember thinking to myself, “isn’t that the damn truth.” For most of us, we are acclimated to live in ignorance instead being open to hearing something negative about ourselves. What we should prep ourselves for is getting passed our fears and tap into a level of self-awareness. This will not only give us an accurate image of another person but it should create a level of understanding so that we are not harmed by what others think of us. Just think about all of the wasted time spent worrying when we could be belting out karaoke while shaking our butts, trying to wakeboard for the first time in front of an attractive specimen or telling a questionably cynical joke to a group of mates. In the end who really cares if someone shakes their head and decides you’re a goof- because goofs happen to my favorite type of human.

     I think it’s time we all stopped suppressing our instincts and let our hair down a bit. That’s the kind of world I want to live in and I’m thinking there are some others who may be on board.

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Written By: Hayley Sutherland

Posted on March 5, 2018 .