Have you noticed how often we are told what to do? When we explain something in our lives, whether it be a good thing or a problem, we are often met with responses like “You should…” and an explanation of what that person thinks would be good and effective. This is great if you have asked for support or advice, or if it is from a good friend who understands you (I get lots of support on here and it’s none of you I’m referring to). It’s not so great if you are simply having general conversation. It makes the difference between somebody who hears what you are saying and somebody who hears words and is formulating their response as you speak. The former takes no energy, the latter depletes it.
Yesterday, I knew I would encounter a lady who does something like this and much more. (I had no choice; she was donating something for a collection I’m doing, and it was very kind of her.) She asked me three questions and each time answered them for me. I had a little conversation with myself in my head as, for my own sanity, I counselled myself through it. It was a funny situation and yet exhausting. Today I still feel it - 53 minutes of being spoken at. Like walking through a wind tunnel fighting to get out.
I can’t complain (I just have!), she was being kind at the root. But I need to protect myself from this kind of behaviour. The right thing to do would have been to sweep in, announce I was in a terrible rush, and sweep away, but it makes me uncomfortable being somebody I’m not. And she is a force of nature. A tornado. I felt squashed against a wall as I tried to survive.
Does this type of thing bring down your mental health? Overload you? Give you resentment? I suspect I need a new tool specifically for building resilience for these situations. My youngest daughter has a ring shaped like a little snake and over the last year, to help her deal with a toxic ‘friend’ at school, she would roll it around her finger to give herself just a little distance and remind her that the person is a snake. Maybe I need something like this. Ear defenders. Or maybe a bodyguard. Oh yes, a bodyguard.
Food for thought.
The room above the gara