Stop and check

I consider myself a good listener. I believe that people can find it easy to talk to me and that I have the patience to listen to their troubles, stories or life experiences. It is not only my family members and friends who have shared secrets and personal history with me. There have been cashiers in train stations and ticket clerks, people I’ve met on trips or sat next to at wedding tables and they all managed to squeeze in some details about their life and spirit that made me feel as if I was allowed to hear the whispers one dares tell only the wind gods. I have also felt responsible for always giving a reply according to the story received. People usually need to be comforted or approved or simply held by the hand when they sob over their own past. However, I have always felt compelled to say somethig in return. I always found myself proposing solutions, advising or making a comment made to soothe. I wrote letters in answer to complaints or experiences heard over the phone. I said congratulations when I believed that is what people deserved and I joined them in cursing and swearing when that was required to release tension and clear the air.

I have always felt proud that people showed confidence in me, that I was trusted with dark, dangerous, silly or sad secrets. i felt as if I was an angel-chosen guardian of secret lives.

Until today I thought this was part of an unmentionable selfishness that allowed me to feel important and special. I thought I was doing myself a fevour by accepting and encouraging people to keep telling their stories. I was afraid that sometimes I was just absorbing perspectives and potential personas. I had begun to feel hammered down by beliefs that I was adding alternate lives to my own, trying to enrich the one-life option given by divinity.

Today, however, I sensed that it is all due to a pleasure of feeling useful, necessary, of enjoying a special status. I realised that seeing a smile after a sad story is what makes my day. I simply like helping others, I only like the fact that by offering time from my own life I can improve and brighten the life of another. It’s wonderful satisfaction the one I find when I am thanked and told that I matter.

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