I had occasion last night to question the wisdom of allowing another person to own their feelings.
It’s harder than you think. “Please don’t feel badly about X, because if you do, then I feel badly”.
At the end of the night I had to realize a single thing:
They get to choose their own emotions. I might wish I had done or said things differently, I might wish that I had chosen my words with more care. But I did the best I could and I didn’t do it perfectly and they feel how they feel. They get to own feeling badly. I’m not responsible for that.
I thought about it in the context of being angry about the MS. I appreciated those of you who let me simply be angry. Being angry isn’t going to solve the MS. It’s not going to make any difference to the disease and it’s not going to fix anything.
It felt like a few people tried to stop me from being angry because it wouldn’t help. Often it felt like they didn’t want me to be angry because they were uncomfortable with anger.
Except this: just because I am angry does not mean that you have to be. Just because I am angry does not mean that you would have to react in the same way I did. I am angry because that’s how I felt upon receiving the news. I will not be angry for the rest of my life, but I am angry now. It’s not going to fix anything to be angry, but at least admitting how I feel is going to let me get past it. In the end that’s a lot more healthy and simply a better way to be human.
And as it turns out, after a week of being angry, I am less so. Oh, I still don’t understand why me, but I won’t ever understand that, and perhaps the better question is the same as it always has been – why not me?
This is a new thing for me and I’m not very good at it. It’s not my tendency to feel the uncomfortable things. I appreciated your support. It meant the world.