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Take heart . . . you are not alone . . .

Dec 31, 2016


“To some extent, everyone feels alone.” 

These are the words of Dr. Mark Goulston in his book, Get Out of Your Own Way, in the chapter on Holding It All In.

He wrote this about the pain people have after they go through something horrible. 

He says that talking about the horrible thing that makes us feel alone eases the sense of isolation.  It helps us feel that we are part of something bigger rather than apart from it.

Talking about it also helps us clear our emotions.

When something horrible happens to us, something toxic is left inside of us.  Describing what happened and how we feel helps draw out the toxicity.

Otherwise, the toxicity will remain and grow within us with the possibility that it will pollute other things within us.

The faster and more thoroughly we talk about it, the quicker the healing.  It’s like cleaning up a wound rather than ignoring it and letting it get worse.

Why do we sometimes not want to talk about it? 

It can seem like the best choice. 

For instance, it seems more practical. 

We’re also afraid that we might get overwhelmed if we started talking about it.  It brings us pain when we think about it so we think that talking about it will make it worse.

Another reason is that we’re afraid that if we tell the wrong person, it will backfire.  Instead of feeling understood and comforted, we’re afraid that they won’t want to hear it and will be wary of us.

We’re afraid that the other person won’t comprehend the gravity of the situation and they will make light of it. 

We’re afraid that we won’t be able to stop talking about it once we start and that we’ll relive the pain and we’ll feel worse than before.  It might all seem too much.

Dr. Goulston says that therapists can be the best people to unburden yourself to because they’re trained to listen and they have to maintain confidentiality.

However, Dr. Goulston also says that therapists are not the only people who are good listeners.

Sometimes the people who can listen best are those who have gone through something similar and who can genuinely say to us, “you’re not alone” and “I understand.”  That’s why a peer support group can be a good companion to therapy.

When choosing someone to listen to you, watch out for these traits that Dr. Goulston says good listeners have:

  • They’re patient when they’re listening to you and listen closely.
  • They don’t tune you out.
  • They accept your feelings and don’t try to make them insignificant or of no consequence.
  • They’ve got the wisdom to recognize and validate that what happened to you was horrible.

In addition to the listening, according to Dr. Goulston, in order to heal:

  • You need to feel.
  • You can’t feel until it’s safe.
  • You can’t feel safe until you find someone who will listen to you until your pain recedes.

Take Action to Relieve Yourself of a Horrible Experience

These are Dr. Goulston’s suggestions for taking action when you’ve experienced something horrible:

  • Find someone who can understand you and that you feel you can freely share your experience with.
  • Ask whether it is okay with them for you to tell your story without any time limits.
  • Ask them to  listen without judgment, questions, or comments.
  • Describe your story in detail in as much as you can remember it.  Include details about, most importantly, your feelings, but also sights, sounds, tastes, and smells.

You owe it to yourself to get more peace in your life :)

Live Your Life.  Make Your Difference.

Until next time . . .

Fear of failure is something that many of us experience. To learn how to let it go, get my Cheat Sheet here.

Each person's experience in life and at work is different, I'd love to hear about yours. Please leave me a comment below!

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