“How are you today?” the friendly clerk asked. “Great. How about you?” I inquire. She proceeds to tell me about her health issues that are weighing heavy on her mind and I share that I can completely understand. We chat for a few more minutes, I wish her the best of luck, and we part ways. As I am leaving, and I say leaving, but what I really mean is limping away, I overhear her conversation with the next person in line.
“How are you today?” she asks the woman. “Good. How are you?” she replies back to the clerk. “Great!” she states. I chuckle as I waddle to my car and think that this scenario happens all the time to me. Sometimes I wonder if I should have gone into practice because I seem to have the aura of a therapist.
In general, I believe that people just want to be heard. Sometimes sharing with a complete stranger is easier than confiding in a good friend. Not sure why, but the encounters are becoming more and more prevalent. These periodic interactions allow me to work on my listening skills, which, truth be told, are limited. As most people will understand, we are conditioned to respond. When someone is sharing, if you are completely truthful, you are only half-listening as the wheels are turning with responses that can be shared. Working on my listening skills is something that I hope will provide deeper interactions, so when someone I don’t know shares their fears or concerns, that gives me the perfect moment to hone those skills.
I am not sure why individuals gravitate in sharing with me, but on some level, it is an honor. In some small way, I hope that it releases their burden and gives them some relief. With healing in progress, getting out of myself is the best type of medicine. It boasts my mood and elevates my level of compassion, which at times can gravitate to empty.