Let Me Be Weak
In a crisis, everything you thought you knew about yourself, goes out the window. You think the worst is over, and in a sense, it is. You lost your job. You’re husband had an affair. Someone you loved died. You survived the worst day of your life, but just barely. And now, you are faced with the horrible reality of life as you never expected it to be, only to discover yourself in survival mode once again. You made it through the initial loss, but now you are trying to survive grief.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that does not know what to do with people who are sad, or lonely, or grieving. The intense and unpleasant emotions the bereaved experience on a continual basis, make us uncomfortable—and we don’t like to hang around people who make us feel uncomfortable. In my experience, we disengage largely because we feel helpless and don’t want to make matters worse, not because we are heartless and don’t care about our hurting friends. But we disengage nonetheless, and to the person in pain, it just seems callous.
Society wires us to be “fixers”. We like to have neat little formulas and 5 step programs and lists with action items we can methodically accomplish. But grief doesn’t work that way. Everyone grieves in their own way, and on their own timeline. It’s not a linear process, and it can show up without warning, triggered by the most unsuspecting things—a smell, a song, a random holiday. When we try to rush people through their pain, we’re robbing them of a necessary part of healing. In order to truly heal, we need to give people permission to feel their feelings.
It takes courage to look at our pain, admit our fears, and express our frustrations. It requires even more courage to share the unedited version of our story with other people, especially when we don’t know how it will be received. However, when we are willing to push past the fear and discomfort, when we are willing to listen and withhold judgment, we start to create an environment where it is safe to let our guard down. We start to become the kind of people others can trust with their pain, and we could all stand to have a few more people like that in our world.
Unless we honestly believe the courage required to share our weakness is worth the loss of pride we feel when we admit our need, we will remain exactly as we are. We will continue to adhere to the cultural norms we’ve grown accustomed to, and we will forfeit countless opportunities to help or ask for help along the way. However, if we are willing to tell the truth, we will be better able to care for ourselves and others when we find ourselves in a sorrowful season of life.
If you’re hanging on by a thread, please be kind to yourself and tell someone. Be courageous enough to ask for the help you need, and be willing to receive it when it comes. Everyone else: Keep your eyes open and look for the hurting among you, because I assure you, they are present everywhere. Practice compassion toward yourself, so you’ll be prepared to reach out in love when you find someone in pain. Listen to what people are saying, and listen closer to what people are not saying. Be an ally for the truth; allow them to be honest with you, without fear of judgement. These are not small things. They have the power to change lives for the better. And you, yes YOU, can become the catalyst.
Brittany Barbera is a singer-songwriter and the bestselling author of Let Me Be Weak: What People in Pain Wish They Could Tell You.
Be sure to listen to Let Me Be Weak, the song which inspired the book, and
sign up to receive a free mp3 of the song, Yet I Will Praise.
Comment on this post to win a copy of her book “Let Me Be Weak” and the song that inspired it…winner will be chosen the end of the day Wednesday 4-13-16…share with anyone you think might benefit from hearing the wise words of Brittany…