What are the most appreciated words of comfort?
I am here.
You are loved.
You will be Ok.
You are not alone.
I think it is just two little words with big impact that bring the most comfort; they certainly have for me over the years. When they are said, you find out you are not alone. That your struggle is someone else’s struggle. That others feel the same as you do. Two words that can make you cry with relief, shriek with joy or laugh until your sides hurt.
The two most powerful words one can say.
I remember the regular sleepovers I would have at my cousin, Kellie’s house. Treasured memories. We would swim in their pool, stage concerts in the living room. Dance to our favourite songs. Climbing over the back fence and down a tree, we would visit the good natured neighbours who never seemed to mind our unannounced and frequent visits. Then, after a day of fun we would go to sleep in her room and in the safety of darkness we would talk about “stuff.” The boy stuff, the friendship stuff the stuff full of the angst that teenage girls possess an oversupply of. On more than one occasion, and me being more “angst filled” I would pour my heart out and share my deepest secrets or fears. Kellie has always been an excellent listener, but she would make everything ok for me. Her response of “Me too” made me feel relief.
Then there was the night out with school friends in Year 10. I had liked the same boy for quite some time, but one of his friends had caught my attention. I hadn’t shared this developing feeling with anyone; I was biding my time to see what might happen. I finally decided to confide in one friend, “This may surprise you, but I really like ***.” We were in her lounge, and she looked up, mouth wide open and said, “Me too.” Ok, that might not be an example of comfort, but boy did we did shriek and laugh. As it turned out we both went out with him at different times, he didn’t last, but our high school friendship did.
As adults, we try to keep all the “balls” in the air. Work, partners, home and children, there are some who make us think we are the only ones not keeping up. Takes a little bit of bravery to let on you might be struggling in some way but it also takes courage to respond with “Me too.”
The kids are driving me nuts today. I wish I could get in my car and just leave them here. Me too.
She is so nice, but I can’t stand her. I am an awful person. Me too.
I don’t understand why I am finding this work problem so difficult. I just can’t figure it out. Me too.
I wish things were different. Me too.
I miss you so much. Me too.
I feel scared for the future. Me too.
I would give anything to have them back. Anything. Me too.
Talking to a girlfriend only the other day, she too has had breast cancer, and after a few champagnes, the conversation delved into some very personal territory. We started tentatively but then the gloves came off, and we spoke as freely as if we were talking to a gynaecologist. It was funny, inclusive and such a relief to hear each other, amid hearty laughs, say “Me too.”
So say it. Say it often if you feel it. Don’t walk away from someone sharing their concern and think to yourself, “Yes, I feel like that sometimes.” Be honest and supportive. You will lighten someone’s load, and maybe, just maybe, a little weight will come off your own shoulders too.
And just as a funny side note, Jesse asked me what I would be writing about this week. I very animatedly told him and that I honestly felt the most important words to hear and say were “Me too.” Deadpan and without looking up at me he said, “Don’t be ridiculous Mum. The most important words are I’m hungry.”