You know that feeling you get when there’s something that strikes a chord within you but you hold it back? When you’re so angry or sad you could cry but quickly change the subject or walk away?
For years I’ve had no issue being the loud, funny one in the group. The one who makes the group laugh and tries to deflect any subject from turning too emotional. Yup, that’s me.
Now to my friends it may seem that I’m an open book. That I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I’m willing to discuss any topic, but the truth is there are some things that I’ve trembled at the thought of being broached. And my heart on my sleeve? Well, that’s just me being hyper-sensitive.
Singing, laughing, speaking, shouting has never been an issue but crying and expressing my hurt has never been easy and understanding the why has allowed me to begin to work through how to change it for the better.
I’ve noticed that in my family there’s a lot of deflection from raw emotions when difficult times arise. We are afraid to cry, because we were never taught to how to receive a crying person. It was never taught that when someone feels sad, that you comfort them either by soothing words or an embrace that lets you know you’re safe and it’s okay to feel the way you feel.
What ends up happening is that you first, get stared at. Then, if you’re lucky they’re sympathetic and give you a pat on the back with a quick hug and try to bring up the positives (sometimes they’re very far-reaching) so that you don’t have to dwell on whatever thoughts led you to tears.
If you’re not lucky you are told that things are not that bad and that crying is an overreaction to what you’re feeling. I swear I can’t stand that!
The reason for why I want to change it is because I want to create a space for any future relationship/children where anyone can be comfortable to just feel and not be judged.
There are a few rules that I would like to put out into the universe for how to deal with a person that is in a state of sadness/grief. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment – I’d love to hear what has worked for you as the cryer or the comforter.
- Don’t tell someone not to feel a certain way. They already feel that way — it is not helpful!
- Don’t tell someone not to cry. Crying cleanses the soul and allows any pain that’s been dwelling inside to come out.
- Don’t assume that someone is only crying about the present situation. Everyone is a complex being and in times of sadness many other memories could be flooding in.
- Reassure someone that you are there for them. It’s not always necessary to try and fix the issue. There are often times that certain matters can only be fixed by the one in distress and on their own time.
- Ask them if they want to talk about what they’re thinking. Simply listening can do wonders for the other person. Let them let it out without interjecting too much.
- Touch. Often times a person who holds in a lot can be triggered to finally release their emotions by a simple hug or a holding of the hand.
- Offer them water. Crying and letting out steam can cause shortness of breath. Offer them water to help calm them.