Have you ever had one of those days where you felt like you don’t matter. Maybe you are surrounded by loved ones, family or friends but they still seem to place no value on anything that you do or say. Maybe it is you that treat others that way. I understand that everyone needs to have a value in themselves that is completely validated by themselves, that fact is a must. However, sometimes we all just want to be heard and treated with the same respect, kindness and love that we do others. It’s not easy always being the shoulder for someone else while having to cry into a pillow at night because no one is there to be yours. It’s not easy wanting to be held and only finding your own arms there holding yourself. You might be the one that is always reaching out to others. It’s not easy to be considered strong by others and yet show vulnerability. Oftentimes we look at people who show humanity weirdly because it doesn’t jive with the image we have of them. It is easy to assume that because we are so outwardly strong we don’t feel emotion as deeply as another.
It is a fact that sometimes the strongest people outwardly, can be the most sensitive. That friend that is always there for you in a pinch, more times than you can ever know may actually need a friend themselves.. Every individual that has breath can be hurt. They can feel pain. How they chose to react to it is entirely up to them but it is still valid. Because of this image of strength, a lot of us tend to look at who we see as strong as if they can’t possibly have any issues bigger than ours. After all they are so strong right? They are always the rock in the midst of the storm. They take care of any disaster that happens with the ease and grace that would cripple the normal person. They are like superman or woman. We assume we can do or say what we want around them and they won’t react to it. Not true. If you stepped in their shoes for more than a day you would have a deeper understanding of the pain and loneliness perception of strength can bring.
Take time out of your day to practice being a friend. Friendship is a two-way street and that means that you have to give as well as receive. Prove to someone else that they matter to you even if it is only for one moment. Give the gift of your shoulder to someone you assume is strong enough to not need it or too proud to actually ask. I understand what it means to be one of those strong people because that person is me. I sometimes want to cry and vent. The times that I do it seems that the people around me are not exactly interested in my pain. Sure some would listen with half interest but they would have no clue as to what I was upset for or why. It became like a running joke with myself to see which person was going to start playing with their phone or go off into a story about themselves effectively changing the focus to something they wanted to talk about. I began to feel like I did not matter at all. Even though I was literally surrounded by friends and people come to me all the time. My pain meant nothing to them. I meant nothing to them.
I cried myself to sleep many nights because I simply wanted to be held through my pain but was afraid to reach out because I just could not bear the thought of what I saw as bothering my friends. I would have conversations with friends and feel the sting of comments they would make to me. I remember bending over backwards to help a friend when she needed me to the point where I had exhausted myself beyond my worst limits only to have her say later that my opinions did not matter. Sure I chose to help her and I wasn’t expecting any special recognition, I just made the fatal flaw of including myself in the final story. Sure they were all grateful for my help but that is where it ended. There are a lot of you that can relate to what I felt in that moment. It was like setting up all of the decorations, cooking the food, and every detail needed for the perfect party by never being given the invitation. What I had to understand was that just because I have broad shoulders it doesn’t mean I have to be everyone’s crutch. I had to learn to give to myself as well. Sometimes that means walking away from someone who is always holding out a hand but never there for you. I chose to not allow myself to be the fall guy. I am not saying I don’t help out anyone that needs me, far from it. I just choose to do so neutrally. Meaning I try not to take an emotional stake in their problems. I am not trying to save them from themselves only help them through this moment.
I take full responsibility for myself and the way I see myself as a friend. I expect to be able to go to my friends in my time of need and vise versa. Even though I still battle with my old fears of not mattering to them, I now try to associate myself with people who have proven that I do. I matter to ME. Until you matter to self you will never matter to anyone. Your feelings are valid. Your pain is real. Your emotion has merit. You matter to me. You can expect to be heard by me. I will be that shoulder to you if you need me. I will be there with that box of kleenex if you wake up crying. I have your back because I am your friend. Will you not do the same for me?