I’ve always struggled with finding the sweet spot of being a compassionate listener without being a door mat. I remember times on my journey feeling so lost and overwhelmed and how I believed having someone’s support would make all the difference. I’ve rarely had that relationship and felt I have mostly been on my own. Because of that it has been important to me to support others when I can. This has proven to be challenging as I tend to over give and leave myself feeling frustrated and depleted.
This morning I bounced out of bed with things I wanted to get done before I needed to head out. I got up, grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down at the computer to take care of some needed research for my garden. It felt good and I was excited about what I was accomplishing. My phone beeped and I saw a text come in from a friend an upcoming obligation she had. I said I was free and before I could refill my cup the phone rang. What I hoped would be a 20 minutes phone call to turned into an hour of utter confusion. I was agitated, I’m not sure even the purpose of the phone call as there wasn’t much to discuss other than making a decision she had already made more complicated. I was to agitated to finish what I was doing so headed out for some time in the garden to soak up some sun and get my hands dirty. I hadn’t been out long when a friend stopped by. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so I took a break and we sat and talked. The conversation never got in a rhythm. It felt awkward and forced. We were struggling to find a common interest or topic while trying to stay away from current events and politics. Normally after I spend time with this friend I feel good and grateful for our time together. The time kind of dragged on and I finally had to excuse myself as I was now running behind to get to the store for groceries. I went in, cleaned up and got ready to head out. I heard my phone ring but since everyone was home assumed it was a spam call. Later I checked and it was a friend who I know has been going through a tough time, I had heard all about it the week before and had already gotten a voice mail a few days earlier to update me. This was another update. I began thinking how do I get myself into this? Where is that line between being a good, supportive friend and being a door mat? I had things I wanted to do tonight but I am exhausted, it feels like my whole day was consumed by the problems of others. I am left feeling depleted which means I have nothing to give to those closest to me or to myself. I’m still trying to figure out how to put boundaries in place, how to say this is my limit with out fearing I will sound uncaring. I am aware that this happens because I allow it, I haven’t put into place clear, defined boundaries. When I have only wanted to give 20 minutes I have freely given a couple of hours. Why would they expect that they get anything less than what they want? I know this is coming up now for me to address. A time for me to honor myself and become clear on what it means to be a compassionate listener. I have been in a very dysfunctional relationship with myself. I have not been a compassionate listener to my inner self and I have put the welcome sign out to be used as a doormat. It’s hard to deny a change needs to take place when I have been challenged multiple times during the day. I call it the 2 x 4 across the head, wake up RavenFire!! I see it clearly now and I have learned if I allow myself to sit in it for a while it will start to lessen. I used to work so hard to force change and I have come to realize it is all in the allowing, letting go of the resistance or judgement. The allowing comes when I am honest with myself about a behavior, whether I talk it out or journal about it, I am putting it out there to be seen. Once it is seen it is much harder to go back into denial. Now, I sit in it, allowing the old to wash away, allowing the new insights to flow in. I no longer consent to being a doormat.