It’s All About Me
My friend has a Crayola Box of unique and interesting friends. She loves the different and strange and I feel honored to be part of her creative and beautiful world. Both of us worked at the same place and were having a conversation one day. She was telling me something personal and I remarked back about how that happened to me. She whipped around, looked at me, and spoke vehemently these simple words. “This is not about you, this is about me.”
I was completely in shock and so offended that I stopped talking for like a moment. I also grumbled underneath my breath that I was just trying to help. She continued on with her story and I listened, well actually, I heard her speaking and stopped listening. My mind raced with indignations and thoughts like I was only trying to empathize. How ungrateful can she be? Later on in the day, when I was able to calm down, I understood the meaning about “It’s all about me.” She wasn’t being egocentric. What she really wanted was for me to truly listen without advice or empathy. She wanted those few minutes in her day that she could download and release all that she had been thinking and feeling. We all want that once in a while and I recognized it for the gift that it was, that she had the courage to tell me what she needed. Later on the week, she picked me up for art class. She looked at me and said, “I need to tell you something and it’s all about me.” For a moment it was quiet and then we both laughed, we had released the tension and hurt from earlier. Then, she spoke her story and I listened with my full attention.
Our friendship has endured the realities over many years. Though we are long distance, we call each other every few weeks. Our conversations always begin with “It’s all about me.” Each of us takes a turn at telling our story knowing that on the other side of the line is a friend listening intently. That is a precious gift in an age where we are a family member, a parent, co-worker, or a partner. We can lose ourselves in the roles that we play throughout the day and we need someone not to solve our problems or give us advice but to listen with their heart and recognize us for the souls that we are. As human beings, we ultimately know what to do to solve our own problems, sometimes we just need to vent, complain, or just to speak and be heard.