Stop Telling People Not to Cry

In life, there comes a time when you are faced with someone who is crying, so what should you do? Definitely do not tell them not to cry. By doing this, you are asking someone to ignore or deny their experience and feelings, which can actually become damaging to that person. That person who is crying, is feeling and experiencing a strong emotional response and by them riding through it, they begin to understand their response to what has made them cry, which can soon be followed by acceptance.

I am certainly not telling you to sit back and let someone sit with their pain alone but I ask you to listen and empathise. In my experience, most people do not want to be instantly scooped up and told that “it’s okay” when it’s clearly not. They want to be acknowledged and heard that what they are feeling or going through right now, is bloody tough. Acknowledgement of their situation or feelings is much more beneficial to that person than to be whisked away and denied of their experience.

There is another response that some people try to tell people to make them feel better, and that is “other people are worse off”. This type of statement, although may be true if you are competing for top trumps, is not useful to that person who is clearly experiencing something that is tough or upsetting for them. This statement also denies that person’s experience and is saying that your feelings are not valid because other people are worse off. Everybody’s feelings and experiences are valid and the emotions that arise with them are also valid.

Here are 10 things to say to someone who is crying, which can help aid them to be heard, understood and come to acceptance.

1. I hear you
2. It’s okay to be sad/upset/crying
3. I’m here with you
4. I’m listening
5. I can see that it is really hard for you right now
6. It doesn’t feel fair
7. I hear that you need space (if they want space)
8. I’m ready to help when you are feeling ready
9. Tell me more about it
10. I’ll sit beside you, i’ve got your back