When it comes to sharing about personal experience – whether it’s infant loss or any other aspect of life – I tend to be more private than most. I second-guess my feelings, invalidate myself and worry about being selfish or burdening others.

Luckily, my medical training helped me recognize and (attempt to) accept my emotional experience of grief and trauma. I’m now learning first-hand that acknowledging and honestly sharing emotions is a difficult but crucial step toward recovery; it is essential to find opportunities to let the bad out and let the good in. Lately, I’ve been trying to honestly share my sadness, anger and fear, in the moment, in real life, with people I know to be supportive. That’s a terrifying thing for me to do.

I rarely feel safe enough to be emotionally honest, because of the things that I learned about feelings – and about myself – when I was just a little kid. Now, as an adult, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that people are not harmed by my emotions. In fact, everyone benefits from a more open relationship.

In case anyone out there happens to be “trapped in the cage” of their own silencing internal dialogue, I’m going to leave this right here…

“If you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all”? That is not the law. “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”? That is against the law.

Tina's Tidbits

loving dad This dad looks like he’s saying, “It’s OK. I’m here with you.”

Did you ever hear these words when you were a kid? Have you said them yourself?

If you were told, “Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” here’s what you learned:

1. The world is a dangerous place.

If Mommy or Daddy or Grandma or the babysitter threatens to make you cry, what might a stranger do?

Trust is necessary for healthy relationships. Children learn to trust others by experiencing safety with them.

How safe do you feel around others when you’re having strong feelings today?

2. You can control how you feel.

Why would someone tell you to stop crying, unless it was possible?

The instruction to stop implies that you have a choice.

If you were convinced that you could and should control your tears, you must have come to believe you…

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