Updated: Sep 15, 2019
That could be one of the most difficult things to say for some people. Especially when we feel really angry or hurt. But it is not really hard for me to say that. I did that a lot. Or should I say I used to say that a lot? At some point, it started to no longer feel so good to continue to smile and act as if everything is all right. So maybe I didn't really want to say that after all...
Also, when you think about it, should we force ourselves to say "it is all right" when we really do feel bad and not OK about how others actions affected us? I don't think we should: it would be insincere. If we were standing in the rain for an hour waiting for our friend to pick us up, but they got the time or place wrong, could we really say that it is All Right? How about the frustration, anger, disappointment irritation we feel? The fact that our friend had a valid reason and no bad intention to keep us waiting there is all good and logical, but the fact that we feel as we feel is also real. Our friend's reality might be that they really did their absolute best in the situation to find us, in fact, it could be that they had to put in some extra effort to make sure that they came to pick us up.
However, our reality is also real: the fact that we were standing in the cold, without an umbrella, after a long day at work, feeling frustrated and uncomfortable and the feeling that we are feeling at that moment is also real. So our reality is also just as real.
How to be compassionate and empathetic to ourselves and our friend too? That is a good question. If we say it is all right, we often pretend that we are feeling OK at that moment and suppress our own emotions. That makes us not compassionate towards ourselves. And if we say that it is not OK and "How could you do that to me?" then we are making our friend wrong and what they did not OK. In that case, we are not compassionate towards them. There real art and mastery in this situation is to be able to say "It is all right - I know that it is not your fault, but I am having all these feelings right now so I will be a bit angry with you" or " I am feeling really angry and frustrated right now, but I do understand you as well". We don't really like feeling uncomfortable emotions. At least I know that I don't like that for sure. Most of the time in situations like this I would just suppress whatever I was feeling and would be the always-kind-and-ever-understanding friend. However, that is bound to backfire sooner or later. The later it backfires - the worst it is. All the accumulated emotions that we suppress when we want to save our a-very-much-in-control-of -her/his feelings image don't go anywhere (unless we have some healthy outlet somewhere like a kick-boxing session in the gym or a screaming therapy in the pillow) and then sooner or later we either have a breakdown or we take it out on mostly innocent people. I am quite sure that rage-o-holics are all about that. So when we don't develop a habit of acknowledging and honouring our emotions, basically we set a stage for a potential blow up or depression. And that is probably a worse thing to have than making a friend temporarily uncomfortable by expressing our unpleasant emotions in daily situations like this.
The best and most durable relationships, in my opinion, are based on honesty and genuine connection. They say that you cannot give the other person something that you don't have (and quite rightly so). So if we don't have this honesty about how we are feeling ourselves or if we are disconnected from our genuine emotions, then we cannot offer that for the other person either. If we cannot offer it to the other person, we cannot have this kind of connection with them. But if we want to change this dynamic, of course, there is a way to do so: if we truly want to have good relationships and connect with others, we will need to start building this connection with ourselves too. How? By starting to care how we feel, by acknowledging our emotions, by being compassionate for our needs, by tending to our wounds, by giving ourselves more time to recover, by cutting ourselves some slack, by not beating ourselves up when we do something wrong or make a mistake, by not indulging in self-loathing and self-bullying behaviours and by not forgetting that in any situation where we are involved with the other people there is US too. Basically, we achieve that connection with ourselves (and therefore with others) by taking ourselves and how we feel into account. It is 1+1 that makes 2, not 1+0...
It is all right, we made a mistake... The mistake of not caring about ourselves. Everyone does probably at some point or another. This was not to say that we are bad or disconnected people, but to draw our attention to one person that we always forget when we are in the situation that we need to present a "good image" - ME and YOU. Our friends and loved ones are our friends and loved ones for a good reason (hopefully), so if we will decide to care for our own feelings and emotions - they will understand: at the end of the day - they do care about us too.
P.S. If they don't, then well, that's is another discussion.
1. This article is intended for those of you, who tend to be more understanding and lenient to the degree that you often feel like you have done so much sacrificing for others that perhaps sometimes your kindness is taken for granted.
2. This is not intended for those of you, who always think you are right - because frankly speaking, you probably don't have this problem.
3. It looks like instructions are becoming nearly as long as the blog, so I think I will stop writing now. :)