Frequently random strangers confide in me the most personal and sometimes shocking or distressing details of their lives in often the most unusual circumstances. Regularly someone will strike up a conversation with me at a bus stop or as a fellow passenger on a train and before long they are disclosing some of their most intimate secrets. Which makes me wonder if confession really is good for the soul and are complete strangers less judgemental than their own nearest and dearest? What courage it must take to confide in an outsider and what prevents them from having the same earnest conversation with their own kin?
Whilst I like to think I’m a good listener the truth of the matter is for my own loved ones I’m probably not as good as I should be. I was born a nurturer with a warrior’s spirit for injustice and as such I just want to help them by putting things right and easing their hurt. I have that Sagittarian outspokenness which seldom means I say the right thing at the right time but in an emergency situation as a “doer” I can be counted on to provide more practical help.
It’s taken me a very long time to learn this but people seldom want my rational kind of help they just want the sympathy of a compassionate and understanding soul for their troubled hearts. So the very next time someone divulges a secret, I’m going to switch my phone off, put the kettle on, sit on my hands and do the hardest thing in the world; shut up and really listen.