Here are some thoughts on what to say instead of telling someone to be strong…
⁠⁣⁠⁣✔ “Feel what you need to feel”⁠⁣
✔ “It’s ok to be sad, angry, confused”
⁠⁣✔ “You don’t have to be strong”⁠⁣
✔ “I’m here to hold your hand”

⁠⁣⁠⁣These words allow us to be with the person who’s hurting.⁣⁣ They tell them we don’t need them to be anything other than who they are. We don’t need them to feel anything other than what they are feeling.

⁣⁣They are free to be and feel whatever they need to feel. And we are there, holding them and supporting them as they do. Without judgement. But with pure compassion. ⁣⁣They are safe. They are held. They are supported.⁣⁣


It was only after 7 losses that I finally realised I didn’t have to hold it together, I didn’t have to be strong. Here’s what happened…⁠⁣⁠⁣

My family came to visit me a few days after I lost Jiya. I don’t remember much from that day other than one moment. A moment that was pivotal for me. A moment that brings me to tears every time I think about it.

⁠⁣⁠⁣My youngest sister said hello and hugged me, like we always do. I think she felt me holding back. And she said something that broke me. Quite literally. I crumbled into her embrace. My heart shattered against hers.⁠⁣⁠⁣

‘You don’t have to be strong’ she said.

⁠⁣⁠⁣All I knew before then was to hold it together – as much for everyone else’s sake as for my own. ⁣⁣But those words gave me permission to break. They allowed my body to do what it longed to do. To drop. To fall. To release the weight I was carrying. To allow myself to be caught by someone else.⁠⁣⁠⁣

They told me what I needed to hear. That I didn’t need to be strong for other people. That they were ok being my strength when I had not a single ounce of it left in me. ⁣⁣

And most importantly those words told me it was safe to feel what I needed to feel. It was safe to release whatever I needed to release. ⁣⁣And in that moment of release, I felt like a weight had lifted, I felt lighter and I felt free to just be.⁣⁠⁣

Who knew the wisest of words that would stay with me would come from the youngest person around me at the time.


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