My wise friend once told me that sometimes when people are venting or complaining, they just simply want their feelings validated. I can't stop thinking about it for weeks now and I wanted to share this. I feel it explains so much and helps me to understand my friends better and be better friends to them. This friend of mine is seriously, maybe, my most favorite human I've ever known. At such a young age, she just has so much knowledge of life and people and she's such a good listener. She's also moving an hour away (instead of 5 minutes) and I'm kinda (really) sad about it while simultaneously being really proud and excited for her future.
On social media, it has become quite the annoying trait that if someone shares something hard that has happened in their life, we give the sentiments that we think are going to make them feel better. "You got this girl!" "You're so strong, and you can make it through this!" "Fight hard!" "Don't let that get you down!" "Stay positive" or my favorites "God would never put you through something you can't handle" or "God has a reason in everything."
We legit do not allow our friends to be weak. If someone were to share these things in person, we might be a little more forgiving, but people don't do that. When you ask them how their day was, they just tell you fine and that they are good. Social media and computers create this little electronic barrier that allows people to be more vulnerable. I've experienced it in coaching so much and it's such a magical thing that allows me to form really deep relationships with women that I've never even met because they are free to be themselves, and the one thing that I've learned over the years is this one simple truth I didn't even know that I had been doing all this time:
Validate the ones you love.
I don't mean in a sense of like validating them in silly ways. We all know when someone is over the top and just wanting attention and that's not the kind of thing that I mean.
Sometimes someone wants to vent something without you telling them that it will be okay. You know what? Maybe to them in that moment it really isn't going to be okay for a good long while. When someone is crying to you because someone is mean to them, and you are wanting to play devils advocate of why you think that the other person had valid reason for the hurtful things that they said, just hold your freaking tongue. When you feel that there is a solution to a problem that your friend just wants to vent about, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. It's not that you are not being honest with this person. It's that you are doing what they need from you in those moments.
The one person that I recognized that I was NOT doing this with is my mom, and that's because I'm the most comfortable with her. The person that I've noticed that I needed to tell to do this more for me is Tanner because he is most comfortable with me. If I was upset about something, he always wanted a solution. I just simply wanted him to listen. When my mom was venting about someone to me, I ALWAYS was playing devils advocate and telling my mom not to be so sensitive or not to get so offended so quickly (yall, the apple didn't fall far LOL). What my mom really needs from me in those moments is to validate the things that she is feeling.
Think about a time when you have told someone something and been vulnerable with them, and they have come back with "Well, maybe it was just that this person was saying it because of XYZ." In my old age of 27 (ha), I have literally started closing up on those people. It creates distrust and the inability to truly be me. My circle is tighter than it's ever been, and I've actually started struggling with being vulnerable because in the last season of my life when things got tough, I realized that people were awesome when the going was great, but when the tough got going, there were only a few that truly cared and knew what I needed (for example: the particular friend above- her name is Rachel-she's a beautiful human).
Obviously, there are some people that don't realize that they are saying the wrong things at the wrong time, but when someone makes you feel silly for feeling the way that you do or that you need to be tougher, all it does is create even deeper insecurities within ourselves. Not only are we upset about the thing that we were originally upset about but now we are upset that we feel ridiculous and stupid for being upset in the first place and like that we are pushing away friends because of our original issues. DOUBLE WHAMMIES. Throw a period in the middle of that, and you've got yourself a hormonal shit storm...not that this has ever happened to me or anything! ;)
When a runner friend of yours tells you that they are upset about a time that they got in their half marathon or marathon or 5K and you come back with some sentiment about how they are better than a lot of other people and should be happy and thankful for that.....
When you have a friend who broke up with a long term ex-boyfriend and then he starts dating someone else and you're jealous and want to rant about it...
There are certain times when you want to be lovingly honest with your friends and maybe if your girlfriend were upset for the 5th time about the ex boyfriend and dating someone new herself that you say "ya know...maybe it's time to move past it" but when it's the first time, she just wants you to say "I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND BUT...WELL... YOU'RE PRETTIER THAN HER! ;)" I'm obviously being trite and petty with that one, but the point of all of this is:
We need space to vent and get our emotions out, and unless we all sign up for a counselor (which honestly isn't a bad idea) then we need people that we can trust with our emotions that aren't going to tell us all the ways that we should be feeling or the things that we could do to make it better. We just want someone to love us and validate the emotions that we are feeling.
Love your people. Love them fiercely, and even ridiculously when they need that from you.
P.S. There's maybe 100 grammatical and spelling errors in this blog, but I'm gonna publish without editing. I hope you'll love me through it! ;)