As I have hit mid-life, I am more discerning about who I allow
in and who I don’t.
I think it is one of the most important lessons as we age. That friendships are not about quantity. They are about quality.
It is not about the number of friends we have but the things we seek to feel safe with those we choose.
There are virtues I want to give to those I love and there are virtues I need back.
One of the important virtues is empathy.
I think as we age it becomes more vital as our stories are less censored and are worn like armour meaning when we crack, it runs deep and long.
When empathy is not present there is no space for us to be raw and frightened.
Where we can bleed even though the wound may seem insignificant to some, it is understood that to the bleeding it feels like a great, gaping hole.
Empathy does not do judgement. It just allows things to rest and accepts truth -no matter whose truth it is.
There are days when I lack direction, lack focus.
Days when I am not comfortable in my own skin and struggle to be with how I am.
They are not frequent but they do exist and the worst thing about those days is the guilt I feel.
They feel like wasted days when I know there are things to do, words to be written and steps to be taken towards my dream.
On these days I don’t need a band aid or a cure. I just need an ear.
An empathetic ear.
And I cannot share with those that to not do empathy.
Meaning what I need the most I often have the least access to.
For me empathy has grace around it – it is enveloped in
packaging so subtle it is easy to miss.
To the more mature its presence is well recognised and its lack is duly noted.
It reveals itself in the ‘weakest’ moments when fragility is present and vulnerability shows up.
Which is why I don’t let people in who do not possess it.
When I have dropped my guard, I need to feel those in my space are not going to put up theirs.
That they will sit with me without judgement of my weakness or my strength.
That they will be comfortable with emotional fragility and truth and not see it as lacking toughness.
That they can be with raw pain and not want to distract from it or recoil into safety.
And that they will leave behind what has unfolded and keep it in our own, sacred privacy.
Yes, I need empathy and as a Middlicious mid-lifer I have permission to recognise it, to give it and to move away when its presence does not exist.