You know when you’re going through something in your life — something painful, something heart-rending, or something that’s really causing you a lot of hurt — I know that it’s common for some people to deal with that situation in a way where they want to move away from people.
They want to isolate themselves, or go into a state of seclusion so they can work on themselves. What many people in this state do is they don’t communicate with the people around them.
This recently came up in the life of a relative of mine, who went on an extreme seclusion — they didn’t answer anyone’s calls or respond to anyone’s messages.
They basically went into their shell, and of course, as family, we’re worried, concerned, and want to know how we can help. That’s the thing we do, right? We rally around; we’re trying to get in touch, we’re calling, we’re messaging, we’re almost knocking down doors.
Are you okay?
What can we do to help you?
Where can we be of service to you?
And for a person who has secluded themselves, that’s the last thing they want, because they just want time and space to be able to work through their issues and go on their journey to wellness again.
But the thing about that is, it needs to be communicated with the people you love.
So with this relative of mine, we were all trying to rally around them, trying to be there, to show up, and do whatever we could, but they were just ignoring us.
When I finally managed to get in touch with this relative, I said, “You need to teach people how you like them to help you, how you’d like them to be of service to you when you’re in this dark space, because, naturally, your loved ones will show up, and show up strong; they will be in your face. And if that’s not what you need, or want, you really need to express it, because your loved ones will either see your silence as ingratitude, or they’ll take it as something personal.”
‘You don’t appreciate my help.’
‘You’re just so ungrateful.’
‘I’m trying to help you, and you don’t want to receive it.’
For someone like me who’s a mental health advocate, I understand. I get it. I get the need for silence. But other people might not, and it’s for us to teach, to explain, to tell the people around us, “I really appreciate that you want to be here for me, and I love and respect you for that. What would work better for me is that you give me a little bit of space. Can we make an agreement that I will get in touch with you when I’m ready, when I feel that I’m up to talking, and connecting again? I can assure you that I’m okay. I just need some time away.”
Consider coming from that place, and explaining the situation, your needs, wants, and desires from that space. I’m sure you’ll agree that the person receiving that would no longer feel like it’s a personal attack on them. They will see that you know what this is, how this person needs my help, and how I can help them.
And so if you know of someone who’s in this space where they are secluding themselves, and they really need silence and some time away, ask them, “Is solitude the best way for you to get through this? If it is, I respect that, and I just want you to know that I’m here whenever you are ready to come back out from your shell.”
And if you are that person, I want you to take a moment to consider how you can teach those around you the best way to support you, because no one can read minds — we have to be explicit. And it’s very easy to say, “Oh, but they should know,” but no one’s a mind reader. It’s for us to communicate compassionately how we need help, by saying ‘This is how you can help me.’
I pray today’s Friday Feeler was of use to you, my lovely. If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to comment below, email me, or book a single session with me, and we can talk about any issues you currently have going on, inshaAllah.
Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll be in your inbox again next week, inshaAllah.