but sometimes that’s all you can do.
A friend, or a stranger, or… it doesn’t matter who. A fellow human being who needs to share something of what they’re going through, something of their struggles, their pain – they can’t always articulate it. Pain doesn’t always fit neatly into coherent sentences.
I’ve been told I’m a good listener. But sometimes I’ve listened to someone and felt frustrated because I couldn’t understand what they were talking about – how can I be of any use to them if I don’t… but I can see it now: people don’t always need someone to understand what their story is exactly, it’s not like they’re giving you information that you need to digest, they may actually not need you at this moment to know the ins and outs of what’s going on or what they’ve been through, they may just need you to sit there whilst they offload, let them bring out to the surface whatever it is that they’re ready to bring out right now, let them describe it in the language that they choose, not insisting that they must be coherent, not demanding that they put their story into words that you can understand. Because it’s not about you, it’s about them and what they need right now.
And sometimes the only way I can deal with it is by kind of switching off my left brain for a moment, sending it to do something else whilst my right brain engages with what I’m hearing.