Thursday, December 4, 2008
A Lot vs. Enough
Sometimes in my office folks will say to me, "I have talked about this a lot already!" Sometimes this is a complaint, meaning they would like to be able to move on, and talk about a new topic. Other times it's a question. They are wondering if I am tired of hearing about whatever it is they are talking about. (Which I am usually not because I am trained to listen for as long as need be. And even if I were, then so what? I can keep listening anyway. Though I always like hearing what people think, or think I am thinking).
What is really being asked, at times, is, "when will I get over this?" Or: "When will I be sick of talking about this already, and ready to move on?" So sometimes I encourage people to say something new, or different, even about the current problem or hurt. But lots of times you just have keep talking until you have said enough.
A lot is not always enough. And vice versa, enough is not always a lot. Sometimes you do have to say a lot to get to enough. When it comes to grief, or betrayal, or anger. Ditto for difficult relationships, love, disappointment and fear. Sometimes it takes a lot of talking until you know, until you feel, that it's enough.
And not just "I am sick of this problem already!" or "Nothing feels different yet." or "Talking just drags up all the bad feelings." Enough is enough when relief comes quietly through the door of your heart and you can breath better. When you don't find yourself living in the eye of the storm anymore.
This can take hours, or days, or months or years. It takes as long as it takes. That's not to say that there is not progress in life in the meantime. Of course there can be forward movement, good times, good decisions. New insights, sure. New ideas, yes. And breaks in the hurt, definitely.
And even when enough really is enough, there can be times where the need to say more, to talk more, comes up again. And then you say more, until enough becomes enough again.
If I sound like I am making a case for obsession, or for not letting go, or not moving on, or not "getting over it," as they (whoever they are) say, I am not. I am making a case for living life, for forging forward when you hurt and don't know how, or don't feel like it, or don't want to. And talking about things to a good ear for as long as it takes. This, I think, is better than some of the stuff that we do, some of actions we take that end up making matters worse. For ourselves or others.
I vote for words. And lots of them. Speak them. Write them. Pray them. Until you are done.