If you’re familiar with the Star Wars franchise (don’t worry, my own familiarity too isn’t that deep), the name R2D2 wouldn’t be strange to you. For those that don’t know, R2D2 is the name of one of the space robots in the star wars franchise. I can’t go into details about R2D2’s character and what not (mainly because I don’t remember that much about Star Wars).
Sometime last week or so, I lost a class mate of mine to Diabetes and it really affected my thoughts and actions because I could barely function. I also have never looked at my goals and plans in life so differently like I do now.
I used to pride myself in knowing that someday, sometime really deep in the future I will surely die,but that for now, because of all the potential that God has deposited in me and how I am barely halfway into executing it, I can’t die yet. That was until last week though where someone whose potential and impact couldn’t be measured, passed away.
While I am still shaken from his death, that is not necessarily the essence of this post. You see, last week when I was hurting, crying, and questioning so many things, I realized that a lot of people both physically and virtually, were walking on eggshells around me because my emotions were all over the place. Their actions confused and hurt me at the same time. It was almost like they didn’t know what to do or say to me. I’m not talking about cheering me up, I’m referring to their inability to respond “appropriately” to my grief.
Before you run off and start thinking that I’m a selfish and entitled human, hear me out. I realise that a lot of us, myself inclusive, don’t know the “proper way” to be there for our loved ones when they are hurting. I used to beat up myself for this before, until I realized that there is no such thing as a “proper way” to console people. I’m not just referring to loss of a loved one, I’m also talking about being there for your friends when they’re in a dark place.
I always thought I was such a terrible friend because in my head I wasn’t giving my friends the appropriate response to their pain. It’s even more frustrating when you realize that you have different relationships with different people and they all require different reactions to their different problems (lol, I know right, so many differences). I have certain friends that do not like opening up about anything at all, and to be very honest, this always makes me feel a type of way because I want to show them that they can count on me to understand them and be there for them, because as they say “a problem shared is a problem half-solved”.
At this point, I realized that with every unique relationship, comes unique actions that will help to sustain said relationship. After a ton of self-evaluation, I asked myself why it bothered me so much that some of my friends found it difficult to open up to me. I then realized that I was being selfish. I was so bent on proving to my friends (and mostly myself) that I am such a good friend, that I forgot that it’s not about my trying to prove that I’m a good person, but ultimately being there for my friend, whatever that means in my friend’s concept.
You may ask yourself “why can’t it be about both things so that it becomes a win-win?”, however, most of us focus on ourselves so much that we don’t stop to ask ourselves “what does my friend want me to do?”. Here comes the application of everything you’ve ever learnt and are still learning about that friend in particular.
Bottom line, there is no such thing as the perfect friend because people will always be people, however, you can simply talk to your friend at a random time and ask “how can I be a better friend to you?”.
When the news of my classmate’s death was still very fresh, I had so many questions and doubts about my life, but one thing that I remember discreetly is that I wished I didn’t feel emotions as deeply as I do, which ultimately (somehow) terribly affects my actions and the things that I chose to meditate on. This is where R2D2 comes in (because I couldn’t think of a cooler robot). It’s easy for us to wish we were as cold as robots (in terms of not wanting to have to feel so much if you’re even feeling anything at all) when we experience a loss or someone close to us suffers a loss, but I have learnt not to be ashamed of my heightened emotions and to let myself feel as much as my feelings deem fit, because then can my true healing begin.
How do you comfort your friends or loved one’s when they are hurting?