A while ago I was in Wellington for work and I thought I would use the opportunity to catch up with a friend who lived there, I flicked her a message and she responded with a time and place to meet. The cafe she chose represented all of the good things about Wellington, it had culture, interesting people, good atmosphere and it made you feel comfortable in a way that would allow you to have a conversation where you could be 100% open. It had been a while since I had been in contact with my friend so there was a lot to catch up on. After ordering our drinks, I got my usual pot of tea with extra milk and she got a short black, we found a quiet corner where we would be able to disappear into our time together.
It’s always nice when you catch up with a friend where there is no need for small talk to start the conversation, where you can get straight into it and immersed into what is really important and this was one of these catch ups. Over the next forty-five minutes we shared the big things that had been happening in our lives from the last time we caught up and eventually our conversation headed to a topic which hit an emotional nerve for my friend. It was an area of her life that she had struggled with for a very long time and as she started to talk about it was obvious that this was still very challenging for her. Everything about the way she expressed herself changed, her shoulders become rounded, her eyes seemed afraid to connect with mine and they seemed like they were magnetically connected to the table, and the tone and speed of her speech altered in a slight, yet obvious way.
In this vulnerable place my friend revealed the details of her struggle and how it was affecting her life. For me it was one of those times in your life where you know you are there to listen and care for the person you are with. While this was an intimate moment between two friends she wasn’t revealing anything that we hadn’t talked about before. The subject of the conversation was one that we had had many times over and while I was a healthy outlet for her to express herself it become clear that this was an area of her life where she thought she would struggle with for a very long time.
As I was listening to her a question popped up in my head ‘I don’t want you to think that I don’t want to hear about this, I’m here to support you, but what do you think has to change in your life so that if when we catch up in a year from now we aren’t having the same conversation?’. The question made her think but I didn’t think it had a massive impact, from there on our conversation continued and shifted to other topics until our drinks were finished and it was time to end our time together.
About a week later I received an email from my friend, she expressed how my question had been stuck in her mind since our catch up. She told me how she had felt owned by this area of her life for a very long time and while she constantly had to fight an internal battle she had never really tried to address it in a way that was directing her towards overcoming it. Through her reflection she had decided that now was the time to do that and that she had started to get some help to overcome this area of her life that was restricting her.
For many of us there are parts of ourselves that we battle with internally, and these areas can seem like they own a certain amount of our energy. Because we may not be proud of these areas we try our best to suppress them in the hope that they will go away. While it’s understandable, I wonder if that’s the best way to overcome an area that is a big hurdle for you.
While big problems aren’t often solved with quick solutions if you are willing to put them out in front of you and get the right people and tools around you, you can move toward a place where they don’t own you. The key is taking that first step in getting them out of your head and move towards the path where you will overcome them.
If you have read this and it’s struck a chord with you, if you feel that you will be in the same place a year from now maybe now is the time to start working on overcoming that thing inside of yourself and start your journey toward a life without this area in it.
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