Grateful for empathetic friends

Teenage Girl Visits Doctor's Office Suffering With Depression
As I noted in a previous post, I’ve been anxious about looking for work. In the post before, I mentioned that I need prayer for a car and good credit.

Unfortunately, I still don’t have any offers for a full-time job, I don’t have a car and I still have bad credit. I’m starting to feel the feelings of anxiousness, frustration and shame creep over me all over again. Simply put, I feel stuck.

On top of that this morning, I started feeling the old feeling of pleasing my mother by helping her in church while feeling fake and anxious in the process versus staying home to meditate and worry about why I need a better job in the first place. My not going to church makes me feel as though my mother’s shadow of disappointment will swallow me. In addition, I’m paranoid that she may kick me out because of it. I mean, I am living with her rent free, the least I can do is go to church even though that church, in particular, suffocates me.

In situations like these, it’s so easy to feel isolated like no one understands. Who could I talk to without feeling judged, preached to or pitied? I just want empathy. I just want a person to tell me they understand, that what I’m going through is normal and that I’m loved and powerful.

Well, thank God for friends. In my efforts to be more vulnerable. I’ve become more open with my friends. Especially, those who’ve been most open and vulnerable to me. A few weeks ago, I told a good friend of mine that I admire her fortitude to keep reaching for her goal to be a dentist despite obstacles and that she inspires me to never stop at reaching my goals.

So today, I reached out to another very close friend of mine. I basically, called her and started crying telling her how tired I am of applying for jobs and not getting any positive replies. I told her about my feelings of being stuck,my anxiety about church, how the car situation didn’t work out and just how bummed out I’ve been about all of it.

And she gave me the perfect cure, a good dosage of empathy. It was exactly what I needed. First, she listened and after that, repeated what I was saying to let me know that she heard me. She told me that it is perfectly normal to feel this way. She told me that she understood. She told me that I’m strong and I’ll overcome this. She mentioned my past successes to assure me of my strength. She told me to pray and ask God for guidance and she advised me to talk to my mother. Finally, she told me that she loves me like a sister.

That just made me cry more but in a good way because it meant so much to me and it was exactly what I needed. Brené Brown, author of I thought it was just me but it isn’t, would be proud of her handling of the situation. In her book, she talks about the power of empathy.

My friend didn’t tell me what to do, how to feel, she didn’t give me a load of advice (in fact, she said that we could fix things together), she didn’t give me a load of verses from the Bible about being grateful and not worrying. She also didn’t isolate herself from my situation by something like “I’ve never experienced that”. She came at me where I was at.

Now I feel better. And I am so very grateful for her empathy, friendship and love.


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