Have you ever had the experience of telling someone about a difficult event you were going through and receiving a response such as, "It will get better in time, things happen for a reason or you will move past this?" While the individual may be well-intentioned, this response always leaves us feeling unacknowledged and unsatisfied.
Our most basic need is to feel heard and understood. We want to be accepted for who we are and we want our feelings validated. This occurs with a partner who gets you or a friend who really knows you. It is called "feeling felt".
When we are having a difficult time, we need to go through the process of feeling the feelings, of processing and understanding them and, most importantly, of allowing them. They may stem from a traumatic experience or may be a strong reaction to an event of less significance. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that it matters to us.
We have to let ourselves feel these feelings in order to release them. If we pretend they don't impact us, it is like kicking garbage under our rug. Eventually, we trip over it and fall.
When we shine a light of awareness and compassion on these feelings, in time, they are free to go. This is something we can give to ourselves and to others. It is not easy to do because creating space for these feelings is uncomfortable. It is painful to go through and really hard to see someone we love hurting. It takes time and it takes patience.
However, feeling felt is the most wonderful gift we can give another. When we give them our time and respect, and when we are fully present for them, we provide a place for them to feel their feelings and have them validated by someone that cares about them. It is a important to do - even when it hurts us to witness their pain.