I was out with a good friend today and as we enjoyed a nice breakfast, we began to talk about my therapy appointment yesterday. I was telling her how my therapist and I discussed a subject that I have never discussed in its entirety with anyone else. Not even my closest friends or my husband. I’ve told some basic details of it all but I’d never really gone through the whole story start to finish.
It was a hard story to tell and I even had a tear form when I was speaking. That is big for me. After leaving his office I felt very tender and sad but I also felt a little lighter.
After a semi-good night of sleep, I feel much better about it all. Like my soul has been lightened. It has done me a world of good now and in the past to really dig in to these hard issues. Giving them light and exposing them to air seems to reduce their power over me. When kept inside, they are like dragons that can slay larger and larger parts of me as time goes on.
After expressing those feelings that I had, we began to discuss people and their reactions to others suffering from grief, loss, pain, or illness. It is so common to have people who do not think you should talk about it because you will feel sad or you will spend too much time focusing on the negative.
“Don’t think about that.”
Leave the past in the past.”
“Try to think happy thoughts.”
“Why don’t we plan something to get your mind off of it?”
“Lets go out for a while.”
There are a lot of different helpful hints that people offer but one thing we agreed was not offered very often was just someone who would sit and listen. Someone who is able to just allow you to have a space to just feel what you need to feel without trying to fix it for you.
So why does this happen?
Perhaps others just want you to be happy and don’t want you “dwelling” in the past? Who knows? I am sure there are a hundred good reasons. That said? Allowing someone to truly express what they really feel without fear of judgment or immediate fixing is a gift like no other. Just feeling heard is something I think we all want more of in our lives. Would you agree?
I look back at times when I have felt the worst emotionally and each of those times often has a common thread. I haven’t felt heard, understood or in the worst cases, believed. I hate to sound like a drama queen here but those feelings can be soul destroying.
I know that when I shared this story with my therapist, he said very little. He asked some clarifying questions, he validated that I had every reason to feel the way that I did, he expressed his wish that I had not gone through that experience but he didn’t fix anything for me. He knows that is my job.
Can we begin to offer that to those we love? When someone is ill, loses a friend or is grieving for a family member? Even if that loss is from years ago. Can we hold a space to allow them to feel how they need to feel right now without judging where they should be on their healing journey?
Can we then hope that someone will also do that for us?
I am not positive but I have a feeling I am guilty of being a fixer for others far too quickly at times. The next time that someone comes to me with an important story to tell me, I want to try hard to offer them the same thing that I would want. A person to hold that space for me. To allow me to share what I need to share. It helps to soothe the anxious soul and it can be a healing balm for a broken heart.
Have a great weekend everyone!