Balancing taking care of yourself and caring for loved ones can be hard and confusing. Sometimes, taking more me-time or giving a friend space, versus being there for them, can lead to a heated and tearful argument or feelings of guilt. Other times, doing so creates an outcome of a healthy and strong platonic or romantic relationship.
So what is the balance? Have people faced my same struggles in finding this middle ground? How different is everyone’s preference on how to be cared for when they’re sad or angry?
We interviewed a few of our closest friends to hear what they think, and answered these questions ourselves <333
Below are a few of our favorite responses our fourth question!
4. What do you wish a friend or loved one you care for knew about how to help you best?
I think a lot of people listen to my problems and then try to fix them for me. I wish more people knew how to just be in the problem with me without trying to fix it or give advice.
- Janie Contreras Johnson, 29, Colorado
I’m actually thankful that those around me know me well enough to know when to leave me alone and when to reach out. For people coming into my life, and just getting to know me, I would say that the best way to help is to listen to me and believe what I say. I’m honest with my feelings, so if I say I need time alone, I mean it. And if I want the company, or someone to talk to, then I’ll voice it.
- Georgia St. Jones, 26, Lancaster, California
I wish that anyone close would just be upfront in asking what I need instead of assuming that I just need advice or space or anything else.
- Kelly Duarte, 22 West Covina, California
I’m still figuring myself out. After years of putting others’ needs before mine, it’s still a struggle trying to process what I’m feeling at any given moment, why I’m feeling it, that it’s okay to feel sad or angry or anything else, and that it’s okay to express these feelings. Though it’s sometimes hard to know what I’m feeling let alone how to make it better, I think most often than not, just having someone be there for me is enough.
For example, one time, after a long day at work, I remember coming home to my partner and just crying. He of course asked what was wrong, but the only thing I could say was that I was tired, which was the best way I could describe what was happening. He didn’t try to ask any more questions and just let me cry and hugged me from time to time. It was nice just releasing the pent up emotions I had and not have to worry about finding the right words or making sense of it. Sometimes you just need to feel what you’re feeling without judgement. I wish members of my family were able to comfort me when I’m down without making a big deal out of it.
- Kim Flores, 26, Los Angeles, California
Sometimes I just want to sit and not talk. I love taking drives and looking at beautiful scenery. Music, nature and delicious aromas soothe my soul.
- Vanesa Islas, Los Angeles, California
I can be pretty negative sometimes, but trying to force me to be positive will not work. I enjoy encouragement, just not pushy “positivity only” type comments.
- Joanna Alvarez, 24, San Francisco, California
Interviews by Georgia St. Jones, Janie Contreras Johnson and Kelly Duarte.
Intro words, featured image and edited by Shannen Roberts.
*Last name omitted by request of interviewee.
Shannen Roberts is a Peruvian-American writer, musician and yogi.
Learn more about her here.
Georgia St. Jones is a California broke girl using music, art, and literature as a way to be universal and staff contributor for The Strange is Beautiful.
Follow her here: Instagram, SoundCloud.
See her latest posts here.
Janie Contreras Johnson, The Strange is Beautiful’s Staff Community Outreach, is a Mexican-American feminist working constantly to overcome sexual and childhood trauma.
DM her on our Instagram @TheStrangeisBeautiful.
Read her posts here.