This past week has been rough. There has been a series of events which have unfolded various levels of grief, anger, exasperation, anxiety, and depression within me. Lots of emotions. In times like these, one of the “tools” in my Self-Care Toolkit is to find supportive persons who will listen.
I find that being able to really listen is a skill not everyone has. To truly listen is to engage empathetically with the other person without trying to fix, change or invalidate their feelings. To listen is to just be with them in their pain (or whatever they are experiencing). To listen is to support and make room for their emotions because those emotions exist.
To listen is to acknowledge what you’re hearing from the other. For example, to say, “I’m so sorry you are having a rough week” instead of “You need to get over it,” or “I’m here for you, is there anything you need right now?” instead of “Don’t feel that way.”
Some people have a tough time seeing and hearing others experience certain emotions, especially if the feelings are perceived as “negative” (e.g. sadness, anger, etc.). However, I’m of the mindset that there are no such things as “negative” emotions. I think humans have put this term on certain feelings because it can be harder to feel them. It’s more comfortable – easier if you will – to feel happy than sad. It is much nicer to feel excitement than anxiety. However, there is nothing wrong with having emotions; in fact, they are normal! More importantly, there is wisdom in all emotions and without feeling emotions, we miss out on this wisdom.
Being heard last week helped the wisdom in my emotions emerge for me: I love deeply, and I care very much about my clients and the work that I do. What is the wisdom in your emotions? I hope you believe it is ok to feel, because that is how we heal. I read a quote once that said “Emotions aren’t pretty, but they are beautiful.” How true that is!
So who supports and validates you the way you need – who listens to you? Who helps hold the space for your emotions? If you don’t have this in your life or if you’d like to learn how to better listen to others or feel your own emotions, the associates at Life Care Wellness can help. We’re here to listen.
~ Shelley Pier, LCSW
Photo by Felix Russell-Saw