For Those Who Find It Hard To Share Their Problems

Always the most trusted employee and a consistent top performer, Ray’s employers knew they could bank on him. Always the best listener and a keeper of secrets, his friends knew they could always talk to him to feel better. Always the most cheerful, his family members saw him as a ray of sunshine and a pillar of strength. But within himself, he was struggling to cope with self-doubt and grief, and he couldn’t open up to anyone — at least he thought so.

Ray had always felt that it was important to be brave and strongwilled to survive in this world, at least that was what he had been told. What he was never told was that being vulnerable and confronting his emotions would make him stronger on the inside. So, he appeared to sail through his life’s struggles with a strong exterior so that nobody could ever learn what was going on within him.

“Do you judge her for sharing her problems?”
“No. She’s my best friend. I would never judge her. I know her too much to judge her.”

“How did she react when you were struggling emotionally at the time of your father’s demise?”
“She was silent most of the time. I prefer silence. But she was there with me. Made sure I was eating on time and taking care of my health. She wiped my tears.”

He felt that strong people cope with their problems themselves, they need not seek help. When in fact, true strength lies in knowing our vulnerabilities and accepting them and asking for help when we fall short.

Picture it this way — we’re all like a bottle of soda. All the external events (everything that happens outside of us — like someone said something, did something, something we saw/heard, etc) of our lives constantly shake the soda bottle until the fizz is too much to contain. Some people let that fizz out as anger, frustration, irritability, and violence; while others talk it out. For people like Ray, they let that fizz eat them up inside. The problem is not too big, but thinking about how others would perceive it, makes it Gargantuan. Ray’s case was similar. All that mind-reading and fortune-telling led him to believe that there’s nobody to help him out, that people would either not understand his problems, or belittle them, or judge him for having them.

But remember, it is important to let that fizz out, don’t let it eat you up inside.

For the rest of us, it is important to remember to be compassionate with each other. There was this post I wrote about how we can be better listeners. Check that out for some helpful pointers.

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Aparna Nayyar

Aparna Nayyar

I write to help people lead more fulfilling lives by helping them take care of their psychological well-being.