Needing people doesn’t make you needy

the story i’m about to tell you may get me in trouble with my wife, but i’m pretty sure it’s worth it.

i came down with some type of cold/allergies/sinus death for a couple of days at the end of last month. it was one of those deals where it doesn’t completely knock you out, but makes you feel pretty useless. we’ve all been there, right?

other than me feeling like i wanted to rip my sinuses out, the night was pretty normal. i was sitting on the couch. nicole was across the room. the tv was on but the volume was down. our puppy was barking every two seconds either to go outside or to come back in. normal tuesday night in the carone house.

as we sat there, nicole started telling me about her day. it’s been a rough time at work so she was venting a little bit, complaining a little bit, and really just getting things off her chest. i laid there listening the best i could between trying to figure out how to breathe and not falling asleep. at one point, right in the middle of a sentence, nicole stopped talking, looked at me, and said something that caught my attention:

hey. if i’m being too much about me, please let me know.

wait, what?

i asked her what she meant and she told me that she didn’t mean to complain and that she knew i was sick, so if i needed her to shut up about her stuff, she would. she just needed me to let her know because she didn’t know where the line was between venting and being selfish.

i obviously told her that it was okay like any husband would. she went back to venting/complaining/getting things off her chest and i actually stopped listening for a second. instead, i thought about what she said to me. it seemed like a pretty innocent statement but the more i thought about it, the more i realized what it meant.

it meant she trusted me. she trusted me enough to know i’d tell her the truth. she trusted i wouldn’t think bad about her for being a little selfish and talking about her day instead of focusing on me. she trusted that instead of being passive aggressive and simply tolerating her, i would actually ask her to stop talking if it became too much.

it meant she cared about me. i know my wife cares about me. i never doubt that. taking the time to stop a sentence mid-thought to tell me she’d give up processing her day if i needed the quiet meant she really did care about how i was feeling. she didn’t have to come out and say, “jonathan, i care about your feelings and want you to feel better.” what she said showed  she cared about me more than any statement ever could.

it meant she knew she had a blind spot. so often we do things and completely neglect the blind spots around us. we focus so much on what we want that we don’t imagine we could be negatively affecting someone around us. by giving me permission to ask her to stop, she was telling me she knew she didn’t know where the line was but wanted me to let her know if she crossed it.

i learned a lot about my wife from one sentence.

i learned a lot about my life from one sentence.

do you have people in your life that you can say, “if i’m being too much about me, please let me know” to?

are there people around you who know your blind spots and will help see what you can’t?

do you have that person you can trust to call you out when you mess up?

i designed a shirt for my friend’s company that says, “no one does life alone.” it started as a slogan that sounded cool but has turned into something i truly believe. we can’t continue to live our life in a silo with a lock on the door to keep people out. for us to get the most out of life, we have to take the lock off, open the door, and say “if i’m being too much about me, please let me know.”

who are those people you can let in?

if you can’t think of any, what can you do to find them?

how can i help?

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.

-jonathan

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