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Marissa Lingen

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All about [Jun. 23rd, 2015|02:30 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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A couple of times in the last few months, I’ve had reason to say something like, “Sometimes things not being all about us are the worst, honestly.” Because I have had multiple friends and relations who are helping others deal with really bad things, and they have needed to hear it. So I thought I’d put it here, where other people could see it too.

A few months back there was an essay going around about how support needs to flow towards the person or people most affected by something bad. And I think that’s true and good. It’s just…hard to remember sometimes, when you’re watching the person who is most affected, that you’re allowed to need things from “outer ring” people too. It’s easy to get caught up in reminding yourself that it’s not all about you–and really, it’s not. But it’s a little bit about you. If you’re watching a parent writhe in agony, if you’re listening to a friend’s tears about something you can’t fix–that legitimately is hard on you. Even though it’s hardER on them. And it’s really important to be able to turn to somebody and say, “Well, that could have gone better.”

Sometimes the ritual reminder that it’s not all about you is usefully centering. It refreshes your patience and your perspective. But sometimes it minimizes that you, too, are having some pretty bad experiences in this general area. Sometimes it shuts down the conversation you’re currently having from including sympathy and/or brainstorming for how to make things easier for you. Sometimes it’s really, really okay if the things that are not all about you are just a little tiny bit about you.

Also, hang in there.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


From: swan_tower
2015-06-23 07:50 pm (UTC)
Support may need to flow toward the person or people most affected . . . but that doesn't mean it can't and shouldn't flow through other people along the way.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-06-23 07:53 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: aedifica
2015-06-23 10:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I like that way of putting it!
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[User Picture]From: blairmacg
2015-06-24 04:00 am (UTC)
Very much so.

When I was in charge of hospice care for my late husband, his cancer wasn't about me. But my role as a caregiver certainly was. The folks who were *outside* his caregiving circle but *inside* mine were the ones who made those days endurable.

Sometimes having a somewhat-removed person say, "That totally sucks for you," is the greatest gift ever. It enabled me to dump all those feelings sans guilt--without impacting those who faced even worse things--which opened space in my emotional landscape for patience, acceptance, and, frankly, dealing with the stuff that sucked.
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From: atheilen
2015-06-23 07:55 pm (UTC)
This is just to say, I really admire your ongoing effort not only to be compassionate, but also to model compassion for others and show them a way of doing that in the world. So many assume it doesn't need to be learned or practiced, that it is something innate. When I read your posts I always want to try again.

Hang in there, yourself.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2015-06-23 08:46 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-06-23 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you for all of this comment.
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[User Picture]From: teadog1425
2015-06-24 02:33 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with this, and I also am very grateful for your thoughtful and kind posts and actions!
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[User Picture]From: ckd
2015-06-23 10:07 pm (UTC)
A useful reminder, especially for me right now. In the past six days, I have thrice been a person to talk to/hang out with/etc during a rough patch...for three different friends.

(But Fourth Street soon!)
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[User Picture]From: redbird
2015-06-27 03:09 pm (UTC)
Part of what got me through the part of last year when the most important thing I was dealing with wasn't about me, was that I could turn and lean on my partners.
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