by Imad Mohamed, MSW
As a social worker, I have had many moments when the best support I could provide my clients was just being present through empathy. And at times, the most meaningful words that one can say are, "It's okay to cry."
As she uncovers her past
She feels the sweat of her emotional world taken over her vision. She has been abused throughout her life.
Blamed and pushed, over and over. Voices continue to Echo in her head that it is her fault. Don't cry is all she heard, so she guards her emotions from tears and continues to live on as an unrecognized victim.
He grew up without a father. He is the product of the endless effort, the multiple jobs, the sweat drips, and the scarified dreams of a single mother who tried to raise him to be a healthy man. The sacrifice and advice of his mother continues to battle the endless internal emotional fight of coping with the absences of his father. So he continues to battle, his internal debate. Is it mom or dad? Who is wrong? He refuses to talk about this. He internally cries and externally throws a fit.
Cause society has told him don't cry, it's not appropriate.
Whatever the context we need to understand that being healthy people starts out with being emotionally conscious. But nurturing our emotional conscious starts out with providing people a safe presence for them to be emotionally honest.
So next time you see flooded eyes. Remember to tell them it's alright to cry.
Remember to not hold back the dripping tears
For these tears represent all that was held within
These tears carry the pain and fear the heavy thoughts that swim within the mind
These tears knock the walls that guard the emotional world that's hidden behind the skin
We often attempt to respond with an intent to comfort the flooded eyes
With advice and Sincere but hurtful remarks like it's okay, please don't cry
We failed to realize, that when the eyes are full of tears, we are in the presence of a person Who is emotionally exhausted from all the times that they have tried to hold their emotional affairs from the awareness of external sight
So please know that telling them don't cry, does not nurture optimism.
Validation is the best way to show them
That you are with them
So next time tell them that you are surprised that they haven't cried after all they been through
No matter the context that flow down the tears
Whether is emotions of joy, sadness, fear, or anger
Whether is the eyes of your family, friends, neighbor, or strangers
Just listen, be present, and hear.
Imad Mohamed is from Somalia and grew up in rural Minnesota. He graduated with an MSW degree from Mankato State University Minnesota. He currently works in child protection, emergency mental health with children, and is a trainer with the Department of Human Services. Personal hobbies include utilizing creative writing, poetry, and spoken word to promote social work values, including social justice and personal development.