Leaning on People

I’m awful at reaching out to people. AWFUL. Horrible. I just don’t do it.

Then I end up being so alone and struggling by myself, wishing I had someone that I could talk to. When the truth is, I think people willing to listen are right there but I have to actually ask. I have to initiate.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about why I don’t reach out. What stops me. A friend asked me yesterday, “Why didn’t you tell me all this was going on SOONER, Sarah?” and I didn’t really have an immediate answer for her. I thought for a bit, tearfully, and finally said, “I didn’t want to be judged, and I felt guilty laying it all out on someone.”

Her response was sweet and kind of course, but it really got me thinking. I have isolated myself. I’ve spent years, shutting out the past when I’ve moved for fear of judgement. Misunderstanding. Just out of FEAR and that, ladies and gentlemen, sucks. I hate living by fear. I hate people being controlled by fear. I just hate it, but there it is. Bam. In my face.

The worst part is? As soon as I have talked to people about what is aching inside me, the weight has lifted. There have been moments that I’ve just prayed for something to take the weight, the pain off of me for an hour or two and everytime I’ve opened up to a friend, it has lifted. Maybe not permanently, but it has lifted and allowed me to breathe and to move forward even half a step that day.

As much as I have no problem and in fact, encourage people to lean on ME, I have never felt like I could open up to them. I’ve always felt awkward going past a certain point with someone, no matter how much I have actually wanted to.  I have felt important and trusted when friends and others have come to me with their issues. I haven’t judged them. I’ve been able to listen, to talk to them, sometimes give a little tough love. It has felt good to be there for people. I’ve just never given the benefit of the doubt to others. I’ve never trusted others to not be judgemental or to not shame me for the choices I’ve made in life.

That just isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to me, but it also isn’t fair to those around me that have WANTED to help me.  I have to trust people around me to tell me when they can’t take anymore. Or to tell me the truth when I need to hear it.  I need to trust that people don’t offer help or aid if they can’t do it. (I think this comes from me offering myself even when I am drained and exhausted…worrying that others will do the same)  I need to trust that when someone says they won’t judge me or are happy to listen, that they really are happy to help. They may be compassionate and sympathetic, even empathetic and they may be able to offer perspective that you might not have seen otherwise.

Afterall, when you’re in the thick of things, you don’t see things clearly. You panic. You make rash decisions. You make assumptions that are often incorrect. Unless you reach out to someone else, those assumptions may never have a chance to be corrected.

So I’m going to try my hardest to trust those around me.  Thanks to those who have been listening to me lately. I am so, so grateful and dare I say blessed.

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