I recently talked with a dear friend whose beloved husband had died a few months ago, and during our conversation she described her experience of breaking the terrible news to people.
We chatted a little about the sorts of things that had been said to her, and times when that had been comforting, or awkward or even unhelpful. What was clear was that she really struggled with the ‘me too’ response…when she told of her husband’s death from cancer, and was met with “Oh yes, my (dad, cousin, best friend) died of cancer”.
And it got me thinking…are we too quick to jump to the ‘me too’ response rather than honour the teller’s enormous loss? And is there something dismissive about jumping to a place of ‘yes, I know that feeling’ rather than acknowledge who that person has lost and what that means to them?
Are there times when the ‘me too’ response shows empathy and understanding and times when it does not?
As a therapist, I don’t ever give a ‘me too’ response, it isn’t how I empathise with my clients. Instead it’s important that my clients know without doubt that I hear and honour their feelings and that their therapy is about them and not me.
I think my friend gave me a really valuable reminder that sometimes sitting alongside someone in pain, and just allowing that, without trying to rescue or jolly along is a beautiful and generous thing to do.
I have to confess I’m not a keen journaller myself, I have too many memories of badly written teenage diaries to be able to lean into it. However, over the last year, more people are writing journals than before as part of their self care and many positive things are being said about them.
If you are trying to stay motivated, or organise your thoughts, or even allow yourself to feel the way you feel, writing it down may help. For many of us, routines and structure have become a little blurred, and the discipline of writing a few lines each day, possibly at the same time can help with that.
If you are struggling and need someone to talk to, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me so that we can discuss how to help you move forward.