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It takes courage to be able to sit and listen.

This could be listening to a colleague, a friend, a loved one or even a complete stranger.

But to actually notice them and then give them your time, to sit, not just listen, is huge.

Allowing them to be heard. If they begin talking about a 'taboo' subject and you feel awkward or uncomfortable now they have started opening up, it's ok, you don't have to have the answers, you aren't here to fix them. Most, if not all our own answers are within ourselves anyway. It's maybe the prompts from others we receive sometimes that help guide us. The answers we need, we cannot see as we are so incredibly stressed and they need highlighting from others.

And sometimes the simplest of answers are right beneath our very nose. And I totally get it, when everything is stacked against you, dealing with it all can just seem impossible. We then think and overthink and with those thoughts comes along emotions and feelings. Like a crowd honing in on you, jabbing and snarling, forcing you further back into a corner, where you feel all you can do is curl up and make yourself invisible and small. I defy anyone to have not felt something like this at least once in their life. It's how we respond to this that counts. Trauma can stay from a very early age all the way throughout our adult life too.

It's important to acknowledge and notice these feelings, but it's also just as important to notice when we have had the opposite end of the scale feelings. Feelings of joy and excitement, gratitude and happiness, as all this lifts self-worth and feel-good energy within you. It's that grasp of the opposite that allows us to reframe our thoughts and self-help. Pulling yourself free of the darkness, even if only momentarily or for a short while.

For many, it's Friday and people are excited as they are ready to escape the drudgery and be free for the weekend. Sadly so many are still not allowed, depending on their shift patterns and circumstances.

But for those on a high, it's a release of endorphins and feel-good chemicals. It's important to acknowledge these and hold them in our memories. It's a lifeline that may be called upon at some point. Like an upbeat song, a good memory full of laughter is a mood and energy changer.

Flip this to the opposite when we feel down, maybe because it's Monday and heading back into work, the job where targets need to be met or where you may get to see another fatality, adding to your already saturated mind file you cannot delete. Or life is just becoming too much.

How we have become conditioned in recognising the doom and accepting it as an old friend.

Fearing and seeing only the bad and the worst in situations.

This is maybe the time to sit, literally just sit with it and face it.

See things for what they are, feel the feelings for what they are.

Uncomfortable, scary, strange and unpleasant maybe.....

Sitting with it could be that simple.

For example,

here's an old saying.....this may help you to identify and see an alternative way of thinking..... 'There was a man who was regularly dreaming of being chased by a lion. The faster he ran the faster the lion became. Eventually in the dreams, the lion got stronger and closer, his fear grew more and panic to almost everything became his reaction. He was fearful of the lion. In his dream he was so exhausted he could no longer run, the lion was on him ready to pounce in full stride. He had accepted he was going to be mauled and eaten. With nothing left, he stopped, but so did the lion. Sweating and out of breath, he asked, 'Are you going to eat me?' The lion looked puzzled and asked, 'why do you always run from me?'

To which the man replied, 'because I am scared of you, you have put fear in me.' The lion almost laughed, and replied, 'but I am your strength, not fear, you ran faster and your strength grew too. When exhausted it took courage to speak up. Strength and courage complement each other. I am your strength and a reminder of how strong you are. I am within you. I came to remind you how strong you are.'

What would you do seeing this walking free towards you? Your energy of fear will be felt and met by this creature. Their instincts are high and intuitive. How you respond and react will determine your outcome for sure.

Things aren't always what they seem. Sit and see them with an open mind, seeing things for what they really are can make a huge difference. Remember to feel the good stuff too. Chatting to a good friend the other day who has been struggling, and understandably in his circumstances, he was visibly better after being heard and communicating. I don't know the answers, nor gave any, but I do understand his situation. I can be a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen.

I recall talking to a young lady down off the M4 bridge years ago, she was having issues after giving birth and had been to see someone for help that day, but it was not working. She had decided to want to end it and jump into oncoming traffic. I guess I was in the right place at the right time. I have no idea who she was, nor her outcome after this. I stopped and spoke to her and fortunately, she gave me the number of her helpline and with coded yes's and no's, I had a police car turn up to help. That was the longest 30 minutes I have ever had on my own (as I was off duty,) and I was mentally exhausted. But that aside it was well worth it. You see, we just never know what someone is going through.

Your smile or snide remark might just be the tipping point for someone.

Sit with your silence and face your own fears, (or lions.)

Having and making time to just be and be quiet may just allow answers you have been looking for to surface. A lion can roar and be heard for miles yet he will prey on you with stealth too.

Silence allows him to get close.

LISTEN and SILENT.......can you see the similarities?

Try not to judge, find compassion and stay safe, stay connected.

The more things are openly talked about, hopefully, more people will understand.

Pick up the phone, ring or text your mates, check-in with each other.

And don't forget to keep your sense of humour.

Your call may be exactly what the other person needed.

Look for the good in things, there are plenty out there.

Look and look again, how close is the lion?


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