What I know to be true is that everybody copes with life’s situations differently. I often find myself wondering if I’m coping the right way or the normal way, but as I grow older and hopefully more wiser I realize that, now more than ever, how one copes is greatly varied by age, experience and gender. One thing that I do know to be the constant with me is that I react very quickly to things, whether it be anger, happiness, sadness or surprise. I don’t often evaluate a situation before I decide how I’m going to react to it, I am the person that wears their emotions on their sleeves. Sometimes it’s a positive trait in myself and other times it truly is a detriment to me.
It was recently told to me that “My mother really did a number on me” or maybe not those exact words, but close enough to it. I have spent so much of my life trying to be a less of an insecure person, to be more independent, and to be more confident in who I am and what I have to offer. I have spent a great deal of my late teens and adult life being angry and closed off. A great many years of my life have been spent on trying to blame someone for the bad things that have happened to me in my life, but what I realized is that I started to turn that anger inward onto myself. I started to feel as if I was not good enough, that I hardly had anything to offer anyone and most of all, I just was not the type of person you wanted to love or be close to- why? Honestly because, I just did not know how to give myself up in that way. What ultimately happened is that I started forging friendships with people that never really thought that highly of themselves (much like myself), or people who were just as insecure as I was, if not worse. I started to feel like I needed to go after people who needed *fixing*(the thing is, I don’t know if I necessarily went after them, they just sort of found ME,ended up in my life in one way or another). I wanted to fix them and save them and make them feel good about themselves. I get great personal gain if I feel like someone needs me to help them. If I could not fix ME, then I wanted to fix YOU.
I became pretty damn good at talking to people about their problems and what I have realized along the way is that I love it and it comes so naturally to me. I want to help people, I want to be there for people who really need someone to talk and listen to. I feel empathy for people, true empathy when someone is hurting or feeling sad. I’m the person who sees something unfold, good or bad and I try and figure out why it happened, why the person may have reacted that way, I desperately try to find the meaning behind the action. I especially love to do this with kids- preferably with teens. Being a teenager is difficult at best and I feel that more times than not they are highly misunderstood. It’s so easy to get angry at them and jump to conclusions- I mean I have a teen of my own and I constantly do this- but even with my own, I try and figure out the reasons behind his actions.
I once had someone tell me “Denise, you can’t save them all.” I’m not necessarily sure I feel that I can save them all, but what I want to know is if I at least made a difference in their lives. I want to know that I helped take some of the burden off of their heavy loads. Kids often feel as if they just are not in control of their own lives, there is always someone telling them what to do as well as how to act. As adults we want them to act independent and in control, but yet we don’t allow them the opportunity to do so. I feel that kids need to feel as if their voices are being, and I need to beg you as their parent, guardian, teacher, preacher et al..to listen to them. Really listen to them and what they have to say. Lower your voice, because your loud voice becomes their loud voice and it ultimately becomes who can talk louder than the other, after all they just want to be heard.
It brings me back to how people cope with things in their life, I truly believe that how we cope with things is (varied by age, experience and gender)but, is also greatly influenced by how we were raised. If we felt like we were not heard as children/teens/young adults then we tend to spend even our adult lives trying to be heard, so if you still have that inner child inside of you screaming to be heard, I want you to know that I can hear you, and not only do I hear you, but I want to listen to what you have to say.