I was watching the Today Show recently, and my girl Hoda was discussing the importance of being the kind of person who allows people to cry. To just cry. To let it out and cry real big, even ugly tears – out into the wide open!
It got me thinking because I feel like most of us want to fix things for our friends, our kids, and loved ones. We want to erase the pain, offer comfort, and soothe people when they are sad. We rub their back, hand them a tissue and try to assure them everything will be OK. Sometimes we even offer solutions or suggestions.
So consider this, the next time someone in your world is sad, hurt, grieving, or just plain old frustrated- just BE there for them. Give them the chance to “cry it out”. Sit quietly with them, show support and solidarity – but nothing else. No solutions, no wiping away the tears – just compassion and friendship. You can even sit in silence. Sometimes not saying anything at all is the best thing you can do. Just the knowledge that you are present and that you empathize with them can be so incredibly meaningful and supportive. Even if you can’t relate to the feelings or the experience, just actively listen, and give them that shoulder to cry on. Wide-open cry, on!
I recognize that sitting in silence can be hard for most. As humans, we intuitively want to help when we see people in pain. So if silence doesn’t feel natural to you, then do the opposite! Ask questions. If someone has lost someone they love, ask them to share a story or a memory with you about their loved one. Remembering the good times will never end poorly, I promise. Another easy question / suggestion is should we go for a walk? Changing scenery and moving your body works wonders! My last suggestion is to simply offer options – ask if it’s best if you get involved and try to help solve the problem? Do they want you to offer advice or would they prefer you just listen? Giving choices, sends the clear message that you are there for them, and that you are there to show support and love.
Cry on, my friends!!!!