Monday, November 16, 2009

The Closed Door



Recently, I had reached out to support a friend, but it seemed that the door to their heart was closed. They refused my offerings. I first noticed a sadness within myself that they were choosing to suffer alone, knowing how much I cared and could possibly help them feel loved and supported again.

As I thought about the dynamics of this closed door scenario, I realized sometimes I am the one inside, with the door bolted shut...other times, I am the one that knocks offering love and support. With my experience in both places, this is what I have learned.

Behind the Door:
Whatever the circumstances that may cause someone to go inside, close the door to their heart and lock it, you can pretty much bet that fear in some shape or form is involved. When we're afraid, things always look worse than what they really are. In a state of fear, we are also hypersensitive about possibly being a problem for someone else. Perhaps we don't want anyone to see us hurting, in fear that there would be associated judgment. We don't want to appear weak, out of control, vulnerable and helpless. Another factor that may be present is not even knowing what exactly is causing our feelings that are causing us to hide in the first place, creating confusion and yes, even more fear.


Outside the Door:
When we care about someone we love that appears to be hurting and not letting us in, we naturally approach them with open arms and a heart full of love. We knock on the door of our friend's heart and wait outside.....sometimes patiently, sometimes not....wanting to be allowed in. After all, their best interest is our concern. We believe without question that our loving care is just what is needed.

Sometimes it is....sometimes it is not. The truth is one cannot predict the perfect course or pattern for being supportive. I believe the best way to show that you care is to let the person know you're available to listen, or for any other supportive actions, remembering it is not your role to solve their problem. If it is clear they are not comfortable and desiring to talk at that time, keep your offer open in the event they are ready to let you in later.

I have learned in the past that allowing others to have their own experience of life, without trying to break down their door and coming to the rescue is typically best. What I know about myself is the more peace I feel, the more calm and loving I remain. The greater the level of my peace and love, the greater chance there is of someone trusting me enough to eventually open their door.



1 comment:

Frank Salatino said...

"........remembering it is not your role to solve their problem."

This is exactly the kind of stuff that I am learning now in my Social Work class - good advice!

This is really hard stuff to do, but ultimately we can show that we care about our friends more when we let them grow to solve their own problems.