I have always been a shock absorber as far as I can remember. For some reason, friends, colleagues, even people I hardly know seek me out whenever they need help, advice, input of any kind, or at the very least someone to listen.
Being somewhat empathic, it can be a very draining emotional experience, listening to people pour their hearts out, as they share their concerns regarding life, love, work, hopes, dreams, and what have you.
The irony is, I myself have never been the type of person who seeks out other people to listen to my problems. I have always been a private person, and I've always preferred to keep my thoughts to myself. One of the reasons is that while I make friends easily, I don't readily give my trust to just any Tom, Dick or Harry. Trusting someone, whether it be a friend, or perhaps even someone more than a friend, takes time. And once lost, it can take a long time to build that trust back up, assuming that it even ever returns.
Consequently, the people that I really trust are few and far in between.
I don't really mind though, not having that many people to confide in. But of course, every once in a while, you need someone who listens. And in my experience, the world has a dearth a good, trustworthy listeners.
Just how exactly does one become a good listener?
I'm not sure. To my mind a person cannot be considered a good listener simply because he or she listens. That's just the minimum requirement. It is my belief that being a good listener entails being able to put yourself into the shoes of the one airing his or her problems to you, being able to empathize, and being able to provide tasteful and tactful responses, should it be requested. To be able to do this a person needs to have a genuine interest in people, and considering today's self-centric lifestyles, the vast majority of people have concentrated on their own personal affairs, to the exclusion of everyone else.
Technology is partly to blame for this. Today the vast majority of us have access to mobile phones, text messaging, the internet, and while all of these have succeeded in turning the world into a smaller place, a global village if you will, a lot of us have never felt more alone and isolated than we do during these times.
And yes, sometimes I do feel alone. But then again, aren't we all?
In our own thoughts, we are all by ourselves.
Everyone, once in a while, needs someone else to listen to them. It's not healthy keeping feelings and emotions bottled up inside, yet a lot of people, myself included, prefer it that way. Pent up emotions and frustrations often have a way of influencing our health, shortening our lifespan through such physical manifestations such as high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, anxiety attacks, and all sorts of other symptoms.
Some people just choose to bear their own burdens, without the emotional release of talking to other people. It's just the way they are.
Maybe that's one of the reasons why I started blogging in the first place, to have an outlet of sorts as I share my own thin slice of reality to everyone else in the blogosphere, no matter how skewed or off-base it may be. But its not the same as the simple joy of knowing that another person is genuinely interested in whatever you have to say.
Everyone needs a shock absorber. But not everyone wants one, nor has one readily available when the need presents itself, and that's just a darn shame.
Sometimes, I guess we need to remember that the world doesn't revolve around ourselves, and that sometimes, the best thing that we can do for other people is to shut our mouths and just...listen.
Silence oftentimes has its own rewards.