Last week during one of my very important and difficult appointments, I learned something huge. As I think about it, it is a lesson that I have been guided to over and again over a few years. Feelings and emotions are scary business, they are difficult to endure, and even greater bear witness to, with out trying to fix the situation and remove any emotions outside of calm happy or content. It is like we go into a panic that we need to make that person feel better, usually more because we are uncomfortable with the situation more so than making the other feel better, moving forward.
The lesson I am learning is the best way to help anyone is to simply be there, bearing witness to the emotions, not doing or saying anything, no rushing to end the emotions or change them to make us, the witness more comfortable and make us feel like we fixed the situation and all is good again. But when we are the person sobbing or full of anger or whatever, it doesn’t help us in any way shape or form to change the emotions we have because another tells us, “there there, it’s ok, it’s not that bad, cheer up”. As I type these out the phrases are almost insulting.
We have our feelings and emotions for a reason and the best way to deal with them is to go through them, and truly feel them. I bet most of us were raised to keep any unhappy emotions to ourselves, thus we live in our world not knowing how to be around others when they are hurting or enduring. But it also hinders our own ability to take up space and work through any of our own emotions and experiences. A good friend and coworker once said to me when I was hurting and at work trying to get through my day, she could tell I was struggling but she looked me in the eyes and asked the most honest question ” my friend, do you want support or space?”
This simple question gave me the power to ask for and make it clear to my friend what I needed in the moment. I have since been trying to use it to help remind me that sometimes it is not helpful for me to push my way in and demand to be told what is wrong. In the same respect, when sharing this week, when I was over come with emotions, it was simply stated that any emotions were welcome and safe, then she simply sat with me as I endured some difficult emotions and worked through letting them out. This was very powerful for me, I truly felt like I was worthy to express myself and even more so given the respect and space to do this. What a beautiful gift and lesson have I received, so naturally I love to share what I learn.
Give each other space and respect to feel, to be, to endure.
Love and be loved friends..xoxo