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?