Let it BE

I recently spent some time with a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and after undergoing a mastectomy, is in her first round of chemotherapy.  Losing hair isn’t easy for anyone, but held a special emotional charge for her as she has worked in the beauty industry as a hair stylist for her entire career, and is also the current owner of a salon.  We were all interested in hearing what it has been like for her, and all of us listening wanted to be sensitive to what was going on, despite a certain discomfort that happens within us upon seeing a friend who is struggling.


“This may sound weird, but it’s been a gift,” she said.  “I know without a doubt that I am loved, because so many people have reached out to help me.”  Hearing this made me think of the times in my life when I felt alone, and how good it feels to know that I have a lot of love in my life. I was glad that she was able to feel that as well.  She continued,  “What I want to tell people is just to BE with me while I go through this process of facing the fact that I have cancer, and not try to fix me, to tell me to just ‘think positive’, or tell me all the things I should be eating.  Just BE with me.


Afterwards, I thought about how challenging that can be sometimes.  We feel helpless because we can’t cure cancer; we can’t clean up the child of a friend who is a drug addict; we can’t bring back to life the husband of a friend who was killed by a drunk driver.  We offer suggestions because we don’t like feeling our own feelings of helplessness and powerlessness and sitting there just listening to friends’ experiences feels like we are doing nothing, particularly in the face of their sadness, fear, or grief.


But what if that was EXACTLY what they needed to feel better?  Don’t we all need to feel heard at times without being given advice?  My friend went on to say that the gift for her comes from feeling ALL of it without trying to shortcut the process or trying to deny it.  So the best way to help her receive the gift was simply to BE with her without judgment.


How often do we try to manipulate someone into doing things ‘our way’ because we don’t like our own feelings of helplessness or anxiety in the face of their situation?  Just because someone doesn’t ‘get it’ from your point of view, does not mean it’s the best thing for them for you to push them there.


Unlike what Nike says, “Just BE.”  And that’s Love Applied.


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