I think that part of the pressure we feel comes from having to paint on the mask each day … putting on the facade that everything is in fact, fine. Totally good.
But the beautiful Michelle Obama sums it up when she says, I don’t think we do each other a service by pretending hurtful things don’t hurt.
Lately when people ask how I am, sometimes I tell the truth.
Obviously I tailor this, and I share more with people I relatively trust than strangers and acquaintances.
But what happens when you share that actually, things are a bit hard right now?
People want to help.
That’s right. If someone told you they were struggling with an issue, what would you do? I know that I try to help in some way.
Why was I so surprised that people are willing to offer me that in return?
Obviously the checkout operator in the supermarket can only offer so much, but getting a recommendation of a specialist or a book or their tried and true parenting tip… sometimes that really helps.
Closer friends offer childcare, emotional support, a listening ear and checking in more often.
You get the idea. You slip enough of the mask down to say, actually, I’m having trouble with my son’s eating. I’m mostly good but really struggling to sleep past 3am. Things are great, except the past few days I’ve been feeling a bit blah. Lonely perhaps.
And what do you get in return?
Oh that’s a bugger. With my daughter we had real success with finger foods. She eats loads of baby spinach if she gets to put it in her wrap or pita pocket or panini herself. Oh that’s tough, have you heard of that app Calm? It helps me retrain back to sleep. Oh I’m sorry to hear that. Would you like to catch up for a drink? I can bring the kids over one afternoon and we can sit in the sun and laugh together.
Boom, baby … support, love and kindness is there, and we dont even need to ask.
Just be honest about your hurts a bit xxx