Being someone who feels other people’s pain, is not easy, or pleasant. It means you feel the pain others are feeling. I am pretty good at managing emotions these days, but there are times when it becomes more than I can handle.
Today, I was in tears, when a friend was upset and in a lot of pain. I felt her pain with her, because I can put myself in her shoes and imagine how painful it will feel. I ended up in tears with her. Which I was annoyed at myself for at the time, because I want to be able to manage my emotions better.
However, on reflection, I think it is okay to show emotions when someone is so upset. It shows you are human and you care enough for them, to be emotional for them. It shows you are not disconnected from your own emotions.
After writing about how mental health professionals being ‘clinical’ and emotionally detached while discussing highly emotion issues, I see that my capacity to be in tears for another person in pain, is not wrong. It can be helpful for the person to see emotions. It validates their pain. Rather than feeling the other person doesn’t ‘get it’, or care.
So, my berating myself for not suppressing my emotional reactions, is not needed in all situations.
Having empathy does need managing, but there are times it is okay to not suppress emotions. It might be exactly what the person needs.
I also explained why I was in tears. I explained it is empathy and I was feeling my friends pain. I know she is going through so much and I feel deeply for all she is enduring.
I also gave her hugs and I could tell, that helped too. I was glad to have been able to spend time with her today and just listen and validate how painful this situation being endured, is. And not be someone who invalidates and shames by telling her to ‘look on the bright side’ etc. I let people feel their needed emotions and I don’t shame them for having what are normal emotions, about painful life situations.
I am thankful to be have empathy. People in pain, need empathy from others.