Last week my face decided to test me by giving me a bout of what I now know to be perioral dermatitis. It’s basically a rash, which starts around the mouth and spreads to the chin, round the nose and sometimes to the forehead. Luckily mine hasn’t got quite that far, but far enough to cause me emotional and physical discomfort. I have had it before but not as bad as this, it’s like it’s been slowly coming up every month or so until it decided to come back with a vengeance!
It’s caused by all sorts of things and one of those things is poor gut health, something I talked about in this post. I’d been on antibiotics for 2 weeks, taking my final ones last Tuesday and after that was when the dermatitis started to come up. It got worse and worse as the days went on until finally on Sunday, it was at it’s worst. It was angry, red and very sore. I felt like absolute crap! I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything; nothing could help me feel better.
I just want to be sad!
All I could think about was that I had work the next day, it was my last day and I was teaching my first yoga class in the evening. I felt low, I had no confidence and I didn’t want to change that. It wasn’t only the rash, it was a feeling of ‘my life is going through a huge change and now I have this rash and I don’t think I can cope!’
My Mum and Mark really wanted to help me feel better. They were kind, loving and caring and even though I knew their intentions were good I wasn’t looking to be fixed or for help to feel better, I was looking for my feelings to be valid.
Sometimes we just need to listen
All too often when we se someone we care about upset, we want to make them feel better, sometimes we can be so desperate to make them feel better they push us away, I know I do that with my nearest and dearest. It’s because of not wanting a solution; it’s a wanting to be heard.
Think about when you were a child, if you were upset you were probably told to stop crying (in a loving way) by your Mum or Dad or that everything is ok. In fact your parents probably tried to do everything they could to avoid you being in any negative situations and if you’re a parent now you’re probably doing that and of course you want to, we want to protect our children and our parents wanted to protect us.
The thing is though it’s only through the times that we feel crappy and like we can’t go on when we learn the most.
It’s where our resilience comes from, it’s where our compassion comes from, it’s where our empathy comes from, it’s where our emotional strength comes from. If we didn’t go through bad times and come out the other side, how would we know that when bad things happen we WILL be ok? We would always live in fear of anything upsetting happening because we wouldn’t know we would be alright if anything did happen. We wouldn’t be able to empathise with others going through tough times, we wouldn’t want to be kind and caring to ensure we weren’t hurting others the way we’ve been hurt and we wouldn’t be able to understand our feelings and emotions.
All too often we are trying to hide our negative emotions because we have been taught it’s not ok to not be ok but actually it is.
It’s all part of being a human being, I mean, we are given tears so we can release emotion by crying, not to keep those tears trapped, that’s how we can end up having big emotional pain.
We need to hold the space for each other to be sad, so that when we feel sad and want to stay that way, we know it’s ok to do so. Now, I’m not saying every day of the week we should be feeling sad because I don’t think that, I’m just talking about when those crap life moments happen, like my dermatitis, and you have no way else to deal with it apart from sitting with sadness. When I felt upset on Sunday all I wanted was for someone to say ‘do you know what? I would feel exactly the same if I had that, let’s have a cuddle!’ and THAT would have made me feel better!
How to hold the space
The next time someone you love is sad, just take a moment and think about your reaction to them. Hold the space for them to FEEL, don’t try and fix them or try and find a solution (unless they ask for one), put yourself in their position and allow them to be however they need to be.
The same with your kids, if they are upset or frustrated about something, allow them to be that, hold the space for them too and show them you understand how they feel because you’ve felt those feelings as well and it’s ok. It’s all part of being who we are and every feeling we feel is valid.
The earlier we can start doing this, the more healthy we will be mentally and emotionally because it will show others that it’s ok to show every single emotion and we will talk more because we will feel like we can. It won’t be a stigma anymore to feel low sometimes, it’ll just be normal and we wont feel pressure to be happy all the time.
It will be ok to not be ok and that’s something we need to learn to allow.