I was a product of parenting that rarely allowed the opinions of children to be heard or listened to in a significant way. That is no shade to my parents as they were a product of their upbringing. They did the best they could with the parenting tools they got from their parents.
I tend to be a listener, and honestly, that’s something I never thought about until I went to therapy. I was asked, were you ever HEARD or SEEN as a child? Being heard and seen were not things my generation grew up experiencing. My parent’s generation was of that that frame of mind, “kids are to be seen and not heard.” I don’t know that my parents actively thought like that, but I don’t know anyone in my generation that was listened to as most of us NOW listen to our children.
That doesn’t change the fact that even children need to be HEARD and as adults, that is more important than ever. I have observed over the years how many adults actually WANT to be heard, but in return, don’t listen. I’m not sure if that is due to not being HEARD as a child, but in my non-professional opinion, I would find it hard to believe if the two weren’t connected.
As people, it is so important that we are HEARD, that we have people in our lives that listen and that we also listen to others. Listening and communication are what all relationships are about, whether they are platonic or romantic relationships. Additionally, having our voices HEARD is important whether we have a person to listen to them or not, so it’s up to us to see to our own needs in this area.
For me, it is about being HEARD, having someone to listen to me, and about people that will give me an unbiased opinion. I do love hearing the opinions of the friends that listen, but my friends are “Team Anais” so they will always give me their view, with love for me, in mind. That is always appreciated. However, sometimes I need someone to say, “Umm Nah Anais” in a very unbiased way, and speaking from a professional perspective.
A few days ago, I was dealing with a situation where I needed the “Umm Nah Anais” answer to the situation I was embroiled in, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. It was at this point when I realized how grateful I was to have friends, family, AND a therapist. When I shared my issue with my friends and family, they were looking out for me with concern and worried about my well being, lovingly. My therapist was like, “Nah, you are copping out, step out of your comfort zone.” I needed ALL of those responses from ALL of those people.
Friends are wonderful, and those that allow you to be HEARD are even better. We are blessed when we have friends that love us and always come from a place of love. They are truly irreplaceable, and those types of friends always have our backs. They are more than friends, they are our chosen family. However, sometimes we need that unbiased, professional opinion that is speaking from a different place. That’s why it has become so important to me to have a therapist because not only am I HEARD, I gain perspective on issues, from a professional and very unbiased point of view. That has helped this week and has been helping me for months.
So, when I ask, should we get advice from a therapist, our friends, or both, my answer will always be both. If you are lucky enough to have friends that HEAR you, and you HEAR them, continue to listen to each other. However, if you don’t have a therapist, you should work on that because it will set your life free. Having someone to listen, and feeling as if I am HEARD, has become essential to me.
In closing, your therapist can be friendly, but your friend can’t be your therapist.
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