“I am here for you.” Isn’t this such a commonly used phrase? Sometimes it is even used to say I love you or to say call me, please. Sometimes I feel it is randomly applied for no apparent reason and it falls out of people’s mouths the same way Canadians apologize all the time. I honestly did not really know the true meaning of the phrase I am here for you for a long time. I said it many times and my intentions were good but looking back, I am not sure I was the most helpful person to turn to. Whenever a friend came to me with a problem, I would help them in the ways I knew were best and took on their problem(s) as if it was mine to fix or solve.
I would come up with a plethora of solutions and judgments and am (is this a German thing?) usually too blunt about it. What I didn’t do was use my intuition to sense what the person really needed from me. I know now that the root of my problem was that I over-complicated things. I had this feeling that I have to go way beyond just being there and had to continuously give advice, self-help strategies and/or judgments. I have mentioned this already many times throughout recent posts but this year has been a challenging one so far. I have had to rely a lot on my support network of family and friends to help me get through certain stages in my life. This particular time taught me so much about what it really means to have people who were/are there for me. Through this experience, I have learned how to truly be there for others in ways that actually help them.
I finally and honestly can say that I am feeling like myself again and I have found the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. I have learned how important it is to just simply being there for someone does not necessarily mean physical presence. Talking on the phone, texting, skyping etc. are all ways to show that someone cares. Many times when I had this urge that I need support, all I really want is actually not to be alone. My friends and family made time and are/were available to answer the phone whenever I called and needed them.
Sometimes people need to read between the lines a little bit when I try to reach out for help. I find it really hard to admit that I need help and when I do, it usually comes out in a somewhat subtle way. Sort of like asking this weird question, “how are you” but expecting the other one to ask in return so I can go on with what really bothers me. Or asking certain people to stay on the phone until I fall asleep or to fall asleep together which simply means asking them to be there for me.
Throughout the last couple of months, I learned that I do not have to fix anyone or anything. I have the tendency to help in a big way without even being fully aware of it. I love to fix things since I am a weird perfectionist. I know that I do not need to fix people or their life and with certain individuals, what you see is what you get which is fine and great. These people are perfectly capable of helping themselves and do not need to be fixed. In the same way, I do not need fixing and do not seek this from others.
A friend taught me that I have to listen without judgment. I used to listen but was often just thinking about how to react, fix or what to say or what advice to give. I love how he helped me by letting me get things off my chest while simply listening while not offering any kind of judgment. The last thing I want to hear when I am down is any form of judgment, suggestions or advice (even if the other person means well).
So, my support network just accepts me and shows unconditional love without offering a ton of judgments or advice and they let me be who I am. I think there is just something awesome and beautiful about vulnerability and whenever others share their struggles with me, I get closer to them. And vice versa. I learned to see and use this as an opportunity to practice acceptance and appreciate openness. What all this really boils down to is love or choosing love over fear. This is where we all become one and that we are all the same. In some way, we all want acceptance and love. Whenever I am not sure how to help someone or what to do, I always come back to love. And love tells me what to do.