Holding On




There’s a fine line that one needs to walk when being there for others, but more often than not, out of our desire to save others from their own selves, we blur the line. We forget the boundaries we put up and we allow ourselves to delve into things that shouldn’t have been a whole investment from us. But, it’s an easy mistake to make (I know because I make it all the time).

We allow ourselves to forget that not everyone needs saving, nor do they need for us to be the voice that pipes up to fight their battles. Sometimes people just want to be listened to. Whether we admit it or not, on the worst of days (and even on the best), we all need someone. But, we need to start shifting our perspective on this. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from every situation I’ve ever been, it’s that you should over-communicate. And I know, I know how that sounds. You’re probably giving me that disapproving frown right now, but hear me out.

Communication is a slippery slope, especially in this current age where there’s an incessant need to be on the ball 24/7. Because the truth is, you’re not always available – more importantly, you shouldn’t feel like you have to be. But, we fail to communicate this to each other. Out of this unsaid rule of maintaining relationships, we seem to skip telling each other truths. What could be a simple “I’m a little busy today but I will be available later – let’s check in at this time” turns into a downward spiral which starts from “why are they not replying to me right now?” and ends at “maybe they don’t want to speak to me anymore” – if you’re feeling called out by this, all I have to say is, well then…

I kid, but in all seriousness, why are we so afraid of saying what we need to say to each other? Why can we not just be honest? If we don’t have the emotional capacity to handle a situation, why are we so afraid of saying “I’m sorry, but I have a lot on my plate right now and I don’t think I’m the right person to have this conversation”? Why are we always taking on more than we can bear? As though we get off on this self inflicted pressure.

It’s time to change that though. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Like with most things, the change has to start within. We need to start picking up on our own emotional cues a little and be able to assess our own frame of mind before taking on the weight of others. One of the ways I’ve slowly started to do this is by asking the people in my life the following question:

Do you need advice or do you need to vent?

What this does is that it eliminates the guess work and allows me to understand whether my role here is to listen or to come up with practical solutions. This frames my thought process to take out the emotional response and use my mind better to fulfil the need of my loved one without feeling like it is impeding upon my own. While I haven’t quite mastered the art of listening (has anyone, really?), I am trying daily to extend an olive branch and be the one who can stay still and listen and be your person when you need me to be.

My loves, may we all grow in emotional intelligence and be for others who we always wanted for ourselves. May we learn to fulfil the needs of both others and ourselves without being unfair to one over the other. But most importantly, may we love each other enough to be the light, always.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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