It is an act of courage to say to someone, “This is what I am feeling. It has been on my heart and in my mind. I think sharing it with you will be helpful to me.” It also places you in a space of acute vulnerability. Emotions are a domain of exploration that is uncomfortable for many and selecting a good conversation partner is essential. Based on my recent experiences, I’d like to share some things I’ve learned:
- Don’t bother with those who dismiss emotions as irrelevant or not useful
- Skip talking with someone whose framework for seeing the world is covered in concrete
- You will know you have selected the wrong conversation partner if they try to tell you how to fix your ‘problem’
Unless you are dead or heavily medicated, challenging emotions – positive or negative – are unavoidable. As a matter of fact, they are what gives depth to our experience here on earth. Emotions are an essential ingredient of the context in which we are seeing and engaging with the world around us. Being aware of what is arising in you, and exploring the cause, positions you to make choices for ‘what’s next?’ that serve you best.
You have the right to share what is cooking with you with someone who has earned the right to hear it. If you make a mistake in selecting a conversation partner, just remember, they are doing the best they can. But DO move ahead and pick someone who can be there in a supportive, non-judgmental way. Giving a trusted friend the gift of being able to listen in this way helps them as much as it does you. Don’t be afraid.