Why am I shrinking?

All are apt to shrink from those than lean upon them – Lord Halifax

I admit I went to find a suitable quote today for a troubling experiencethat  I had this morning. I shrank today from someone who appeared to be leaning on me. I would like to think that I rise to the challenge of a troubled soul. I write each day to soothe my own soul and hopefully remind others of what is important. However this is the second time this year that someone seemed to want to hear what I had to share but fought back so hard against my ‘advice’ that I shrank and ran away. They were looking to me for something I couldn’ t give –  validation for the ‘terrible circumstances’ which caused them such misery.

There is no such thing as a coincidence so I have been thinking today about what happened.

I was interrupted on my morning walk by an intelligent, attractive young man whom I had not seen in a year. He called out from where he was sitting on the most stunning little white sand beach behind the row of trees I was running past, and I went and sat down on an adjoining rock by the water’s edge. He asked how I was and I looked at the water, the view, the sunshine and said “Great! Isn’t this so beautiful? How are you?”

His expression in response told me all I needed to know. Then I noticed the brown paper bag wrapped around a bottle beside him, cigarette in hand which he had to relight a couple of times. I waited as he clearly wanted to talk. He was in despair because he had come back from where he had been living overseas for 6 months (dual passport but grew up here) only three days earlier in order to go for job interviews in Australia. He said his ‘heart was bleeding’ because everything overseas was so much better and Australia was awful – the people, the radio station, the traffic etc. He started to expand on all that but I stopped him.

‘Can you get back to this other country? I asked gently.

‘Yes I am he said, soon’. So what’s wrong? I asked again. ‘It is Winter over there. Can’t you just enjoy this mini Summer Holiday and this glorious place until you get your ticket? I hate to see you so sad.’

He denied being sad but get kept going on about how in this other country he had dated a model and was positively ecstatic for 6 months but here his heart was bleeding. I admit I tried to jump in with things like – ‘Happiness is internal. If you are unhappy here, you can’t depend on another country to make you happy. You will take your way of judging with you and eventually be unhappy there too.’ He swore that wasn’t true.

I tried another tack. I said that that when I had had counselling 10 years ago, the whole job of the counsellor wasn’t to hear me rant and agree with me, but to gently point out that my thinking was not serving me.

Nothing. He was convinced it was torture being here on this glorious day in paradise. And so it went on. I kept trying to escape because we were at such cross purposes and I felt powerless to help. I was being fairly rude in a way and very blunt, cutting him off even and agreeing to disagree on his way of thinking, not whether one country or another was better. I told him his ‘story’ was making him miserable and I could not understand. Could he not just drop his thoughts and enjoy the day?  Be present, here, now?

Despite my not sympathising with his plight he kept asking if I could stay, which I didn’t want to, to be honest. I said I really cared for him and understood his state because I had once had depression but that I decided I didn’t want to ‘receive the benefits’ of that horrible thinking any more and my way out was to take responsibility for polluting my own thinking and change it.

After 10 minutes I could not make a dent. He absolutely defended his right to be utterly miserable. And now I am left wondering if I totally failed myself, my values and my will to help the world, let alone him. Any answers for me my lovely followers?

My lovely flatmate has just asked if he was high and now I think about it, he did used to partake. Can I use that as an excuse for shrinking?



5 thoughts on “Why am I shrinking?

  1. I don’t know if what I’m about to say applies to you, Emma. You’ll have to read and see if it resonates. I learned something important long ago, and that was healing is a two-way street. When we come into contact with each other, we exchange something, even if we don’t realize it. It’s not our job to be the conscious teacher in every situation. We teach others all the time by just being who we are.

    Perhaps meeting him meant you were to learn something about yourself, i.e. a new way of looking at the world…perhaps you have some ideas that need dropping at this moment in time, and are not seeing it, perhaps you even refuse to see what’s in front of your eyes. When something like this bothers us, it means there is a profound lesson that we need to acknowledge. The mirrors come in different ways, and maybe he was a mirror for some aspect of yourself that needs attention.

    Though you might feel differently, I’ve learned that sometimes people need to be exactly where they are, because it leads to something better in the long term. This young man was processing a profound change in his life. He went away, came back, and realized that he had moved on while being in another place. His expression was negative, but that was his way of expressing the old self that he didn’t want to return to. He wasn’t REALLY talking about Australia. He was describing himself, and trying to make sense of his feelings. Probably he just needed you to listen and shake your head every now and again. You did what I used to do- you jumped in and tried to fix him. That probably wasn’t what he needed. I feel he probably just wanted to sort it all out in his head. Change is difficult. He wanted to move on, back to his new world, but then home is difficult to leave. He was in a quandary and just wanted someone to listen.

    I feel, but only you can know for sure, Emma, that you’re facing big changes of your own. In your approach to your healing of others (you’re definitely a healer), and in some aspect of your life.

    I hope this means something. It may not, because in the end, I don’t have the picture of your life. You have that. Only you can know if this is true or not.

    Lots of love to you, Emma.

    • You are brilliant Yaz thanks, and exactly the person I needed an answer from. I hadn’t made the connection between Australia representing himself and needing to let go of his former world. As you say, he is right where he needs to be and I could have been more sympathetic. I totally agree that I met him for a reason because it was so powerful. I needed to learn that he is OK and I couldn’t/didn’t need to fix him. I did recognize he was put there to ‘teach me a lesson’. Together with your help of course. Thanks again.

  2. You see Emma,
    It´s a hard lesson to get that, but sometimes the best way to give something to another person, is to give nothing. It sounds strange…but just ponder on this! Whenever we give something, consciously or unconsciously our own projection is activated by “the other”…
    We try to help the other, but we give away – often a false projection even if the intent is “right”…

    The other is our mirror – the other, somehow activates the blind spots in us, those hidden things that are hard to come by in our soul.

    The moment you give nothing to the other other than your attention, you allow that person to confront directly the issue.
    So actually, the person who always needs your interest and deserves to be given something is yourself. Once you are radiating energy nad wellness, this tacit presence will instantly heal the other…without you needing to raise a finger…

    • Tack sa mycket Julien. Du ar en annan av mina favorit ‘bloggar’ so far – Yaz, Richard, Cristian, Evan och dig – over hela varlden! How I love you all!! Thank you so much for your message, so like Yaz’s. Yes, do nothing, be present for them, with love and good humour. There was no need for me to ‘fight back’ and try to fix him with advice. He could not hear me. He needed me to listen. Well I listen to you. I hear all you lovely commenters. Tack encore une fois, mon ami! Ha det!

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