what to say when we don’t know what to say


[disclaimer: I actually wrote this last night and saved as a draft. It came from a place of deep emotion based on personal experience, as well as from a place of the advocacy in which I dedicate my energies and exercise my voice. Clearly I had no idea that this morning would be met with a shitstorm of unethical un-constitutional un-American all-phobic racist intolerant (i could go on and on) utter bullshit.]

Two of the best most reassuring heartfelt words we can hope to hear when we’re hurting : I’m here
Closely followed by: I hear you – &/or – I see you
Rounded out with: I get it – &/or – me too

On a fundamental human level, all each and every one of us really want and need is to feel seen, to feel heard, to feel held. And the greatest gift we can give to someone who is hurting is to let them know we’re here, we’re not going anywhere, we aren’t afraid of their pain or maybe we are but that’s okay we’ll sit with them and hold that space, see them, hear them, bear witness.

When we’re hurting, we feel fear and loneliness. We feel isolated. We feel like we’re the only one going through this hard thing, like no one else will understand, no one else will want to listen. We’re afraid of being a burden to others.

When we know that someone else is hurting, we want to help. We want to be there for them, to support them. Sometimes we feel like we need or want to say something, but we don’t know what to say or how to say it, or as so often is the case, we’re afraid to say the wrong thing. So we end up saying nothing at all. And sometimes that’s ok, sometimes no words are needed, sometimes we know exactly how to show our support and understanding and how to show up and be there, without any words. And sometimes, most of time, we don’t know how or what to say. When those times come we can simply say ‘I’m here’ + ‘I hear you’ + ‘I see you’ + ‘I get it’ + ‘me too’. And yes, yes we might very possibly be met with tears. Please don’t be afraid of those tears, please don’t feel like what we’ve said has made it worse and caused more pain. Please understand that those tears come from a place of deep gratitude, from the exhale of feeling accepted, from feeling that our feelings are valid, from being understood and supported. And when all else fails and the words just don’t come, a simple “Can I hug you” will fill that broken space more than we can possibly imagine.

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a dear friend. We both confessed a hard thing that we’re going through and unbeknownst to either of us, our current struggles were very similar. Similar enough that each of us nearly leapt through the phone with an OMG ME TOO. And as we talked through it all there were many “I hear you”s and “I get it”s, and before hanging up the phone a big beautiful simultaneous “I’m here for you, anytime, day or night. I’m here.”

To each of you, when you are going through a hard thing please know that I am here for you, I’m not going anywhere. I will sit with you through that pain even if I haven’t felt that same pain. I will hold that space for you and bear witness to your pain.
And to each of you who always show up for me, I have the deepest gratitude for you. You’ve helped keep me going.
#keepitreal #imhere #ivegotyou #iseeyou #ihearyou#igetit #metoo
#bekind #behuman #empathy #compassion #advocacy




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