- Posted by Shirlee Kay
- On June 22, 2015
- 0 Comments
Despite training and working as a psychotherapist for 24 years I struggle with staying with difficult feelings. This morning I woke up, feeling very sad to be saying goodbye to my sister who has been living with her husband in London for the past 3 months. They are going home and the tightness in my chest and throat is generating a feeling I can’t shake and very much dislike.
If I was talking to a client, I would be encouraging them to “identify the tension in their body, give it space, notice it, name it, register it until the feelings emerge.” Clearly, easier said then done. This morning I distract myself by reading the Sunday papers and making myself toast and far to many cups of teas. Am I pushing the hard feelings down? That would be a resounding YES!
As I brush my teeth, the emotions come up again and I try to stay with how I am feeling. I notice how my mind attempts to stop this process and I bring my focus back and begin again. I am mindful not to judge myself and tell myself “it’s not easy but stay with the feelings”. It’s hard but I do manage it and feel it deep in my being. As the feelings pass, I am able to have an experience that is full and real and I actually feel better.
Working with clients has taught me that there is a reluctance to share difficult emotions. Family, partners and friends let us know of their discomfort by withdrawing, offering us solutions or telling us that we need to pull ourselves together. Being with someone we care about who is going through a difficult time is never easy and there is always the urge to ‘try and make it better’.
Supporting one another can simply be about listening, allowing the person to be and just letting them know you are there and available. Asking gently if there is anything you can do, offer them a listening ear or respecting their need for space is the gift you can give.
Whether the issue is perceived as being big or seemly small, we can never know what and how deeply a person is experiencing something. Generosity is a gentle acknowledgement and allowance of whatever is needed.