I was told once by a very dear friend of mine, (in the midst of saying I was sorry for my behavior), that I should never apologize for the way I feel. It took me years to realize the truth in this statement. We all have different feelings about certain situations, remarks, conversations, politics, religion, you name it. And they change over the years or situations that we are placed in. What I have learned is that not one of us is going to agree wholeheartedly with every single thing that someone else feels or believes to be right. I don’t care how much you think you agree on everything, I guarantee you, there are differences in feelings.
We are all wired differently. Our minds are complex and shaped by experiences and environment. How we were raised, our family values, our career paths, where we live, how we live, the people we meet, what’s going on in our life at this moment, and on and on. All of these things have formed opinions and beliefs in the way the world works in our own minds. We have very distinct feelings about politics. We don’t all agree on religion and spirituality. We raise our children differently. Some of us feel very strongly about legalizing marijuana. Some us just don’t care! Anyway, you get the point.
I cannot sleep if something is unsettled. I have had people in my life who can just fall asleep and not give it another thought. While I am lying awake all night stressing over an unsettled argument, they are sleeping away as if it meant nothing. My feelings are, and I’m sure some of you can relate, “You obviously don’t care enough”, or “wow, you don’t love me”! I feel it is a sign of uncaring. They feel it is a way to end it. You see the differences in feelings? But is one person right? Of course…both people are right. Because that is how we FEEL.
It’s hard for us to understand other people’s feelings unless we truly put ourselves in their shoes. Walk their walk for a day or even a moment before we place so much judgment on the way they feel. I try and be a very open minded person though I am often caught in the opinionate realm that society has cast upon me. I have to stop and take a step back at times to remember that we are all important and that we are not all going to feel the same way at the same time. We are often clouded by our own self gratification that we forget what other people might feel. But if we are honest with ourselves, we will be able to at least see their side before jumping off the deep end.
I have the greatest honor of leading a team in the hospice community. One of the most difficult jobs in the world is to be on that side of healthcare. We spend day after day watching people die. But that isn’t the worst part, though some of you may think it is. The worst part is dealing with the feelings associated with the families. They are the ones caring for their loved one who has a terminal diagnosis. They are the ones that are trying to grasp the truth that their mother, father, sister, brother, child, etc. are going to die. Their feelings are valid. Whether they are angry, sad, resentful, guilty, hurt, or a little of everything….how they feel at this moment in time is the most important to them. And it should be to us as caregivers as well. We have to separate ourselves from the “job” and give justification to the way they are feeling at this time. It is hard!
All relationships are hard! Whether they are with a significant other, child, parent, friend, co-worker, or just an acquaintance. There is an equal responsibility on both sides to recognize each others feelings and approach them in a manor that will validate both sides. No one of us is right or wrong. It does not matter in the end. No one stands around our grave reminiscing about how dumb our feelings were in that one conversation we had 25 years ago. It is not our place to judge each other. Walk in each others shoes first. Then step back in your own. The way you feel is valid…therefor the way others feel is valid too.