I haven’t blogged in a while.  I have been quite busy counselling some people that i never got to sit in front of the computer.

 Don’t get me wrong, I am not doctor nor therapist… not even a guidance counsellor.  Nor am i a pastor or a church elderly.  I believe i am just a good listener.  And sometimes, people just need someone who will listen. 

Sometimes we get so busy –engrossed — with our own issues that we tend to take other things for granted.  It feels so good to vent, whine, complain… Yackety yackety yak… feel sorry about ourselves… force someone to listen to our woes so we can feel sorrier for ourselves.  We get to be so wrapped up in our worlds that we fail to see that there are other people hurting, grieving… or just plain alone and in need. 

I spent the past week listening to my dad as he shared his thoughts… i listened to my mom as she shared the exciting (as well as non-exciting) parts of her week i listened to my brother and all his woes… i listened to my helper and all her woes… i listened to the drivers and all their woes… I listened to a friend as he kept quiet about what he’s going through.  Sometimes  you don’t have to hear words in order to understand. 

The whole exercise of listening is pretty exhausting, really.  It somehow feels better (and more fun) when you’re the one doing the talking– specially when you’re dumping on someone else the baggage that you are carrying.  And if you’re the type who loves to hear the sound of your own voice, then yackety yak away.  

But when you listen, and i mean REALLY listen (astral projection during the conversation is not considered) you are not just sharing your ear, but you are sharing your time, your presence, your whole self.  

A good listener is someone who suspends judgment, avoids criticism and keeps himself from interjecting his thoughts just so the other party will think he is so smart and knows a lot of things.  Listening entails patience.  Sometimes you are so itching to say something, but then maybe you are not expected to solve whatever problem the person you are talking to has.  Maybe your listening ear is just what the person needs, not your wise solutions to his or her problems.

It’s true, we do learn more when we listen.  We get fresh insights, we acquire different perspectives, we build — or rebuild — relationships. 

We listen not because we want to impress others.  Talking can do that.  We listen because we care. 

 And most of the time, that’s all that really matters… knowing that someone cares.



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photo credit:

Sentimental reasons

I have had this small, orange face mirror I think since I was in high school.  It’s one of those estee lauder freebies that comes in a bag or pouch with other toiletries or sample make up.  I really love it since it’s flat and handy… can fit in whatever bag i bring.  Back in high school, i used to put it inside the pocket of my blouse (on my chest… for easy access).

My mirror and I have gone a long way.  My best friends from high school call it my prized possession.    It has seen my transformation from ugly duckling to swan.  I have shared with it all the possible facial expressions i can have.  It has seen every smile, every frown, every blemish, wrinkle, sparkle in the eyes… etc etc etc.  One can only wonder how a small inanimate object can be so much a part of one’s life…

At times, it is much, much easier to hold on to objects than people.  I can’t help but think of the friendships that I didn’t try to save — maybe because of the distance… or the time and effort needed… or simply because I didn’t care enough to salvage the relationship. 

I had an interesting chat with an old friend the other day.  We haven’t spoken to each other for quite some time. Ours is — or was — an on again-off again friendship that goes way back.  We have known each other for years, in a sense grew up knowing each other.  We had shared secrets and jokes.  We took time for each other.  But then something happened along the way, that for some time i chose to just ignore the person fully, and this old friend decided to do the same to me.  Until the other day.

Recently, something happened in OF’s (old friend) life that made OF think of me.  While OF was going through the whole thing, the only person OF can think of sharing everything — the story, the emotions, the thoughts– with was me.  But i wasn’t there.  I wasn’t around because we have been ignoring each other for the longest time.  We were both busy doing our “i don’t need you if you don’t need me” routine.

Maybe that was the time OF realized that our friendship had value… and swallowed all pride to admit so.

I was pretty stunned at first.  My first impulse was to be smug about it.  For a split second I wanted to berate OF for being stuck up and detached.  But then i realized that OF was reaching out… trying to salvage the friendship.  So, what’s the point in saying “I’m the better friend” or “It was all your fault.”  OF was extending a hand and the best I can do was take it.  No apologies, no pointing of fingers… just the peaceful feeling that comes with the knowledge that all is well. 

We chatted for several minutes more… shared a joke that we used to tell each other some 20 years back — and we laughed at it as hard as we used to.  I believe it was a nice afternoon for both of us.  I spent the rest of the day with a smile in my heart.

If i could hold on to a mirror for years and years, how can I not hold on to people, as well? 

Yes, we win some, we lose some.  But I have realized that if something is truly of value, it will find its way back to you in time…