Why Being a Shoulder to Cry On is One of the Most Important Roles We Can Play
When it comes to the human experience, there are few things as universal as needing someone to lean on during difficult times. Whether we’re going through a breakup, dealing with the loss of a loved one, or simply feeling overwhelmed with the burdens of daily life, having a shoulder to cry on can make all the difference in the world. And in many cases, being that shoulder for someone else can be just as important as having one ourselves.
Of course, the act of being there for someone in this way is nothing new – in fact, it’s likely been a part of the fabric of human relationships since the dawn of time. But in today’s fast-paced, often isolated world, it’s easy to forget just how powerful this role can be.
So why is being a shoulder to cry on so important? Here are just a few reasons:
1. It helps us feel less alone.
One of the most challenging things about going through a difficult time is feeling like we’re the only ones experiencing what we’re going through. But when we have someone to talk to, someone who validates our feelings and offers understanding, it can make us feel significantly less isolated. This can be a vital lifeline when we’re struggling to keep our heads above water.
2. It creates deeper connections.
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and when we’re willing to be there for others when they’re going through tough times, we create connections that go far beyond surface-level pleasantries. These deep bonds are what sustain us in times of need and allow us to feel truly seen and heard by others.
3. It builds trust.
When we know that we have someone who will listen to us without judgement, who will hold space for our emotions without trying to fix us, it builds a strong foundation of trust. This is the kind of trust that allows us to open up even more over time, and to develop a true sense of safety in our relationships.
4. It offers perspective.
When we’re in the midst of a crisis, it can be challenging to see beyond our own pain and struggle. But when we have someone to talk to, someone who can help us see things from a different angle, it can offer a valuable perspective that we might not have considered on our own. This can be immensely helpful in finding a way forward, even when it feels like there’s no way out.
5. It can save lives.
In some cases, having someone to lean on can be a literal lifesaver. Studies have shown that having social support is linked to improved mental health outcomes, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and even improved physical health overall. When we know that there’s someone who cares about us and has our back, we’re more resilient and better able to weather whatever storms come our way.
Of course, being a shoulder to cry on is easier said than done. It can be difficult to know how best to support someone when they’re going through a tough time, and it’s not always clear how much or how little we should offer in terms of advice or guidance.
But there are a few things we can keep in mind to make this role a bit easier:
1. Listen actively.
When someone is coming to us for support, the most important thing we can do is truly listen. This means putting aside our own agenda, our own need to fix things, and simply being present to what the other person is saying. Asking open-ended questions and offering empathy can go a long way in making someone feel heard and understood.
2. Offer validation.
We might not always understand exactly what someone else is going through, but that doesn’t mean we can’t validate their feelings. Letting someone know that it’s okay to feel whatever they’re feeling can be incredibly powerful – sometimes just knowing that someone else has felt the same way can be a huge relief.
3. Know your boundaries.
While being there for others is important, it’s also crucial to take care of ourselves. It’s okay to set boundaries around how much emotional labor we’re willing or able to offer, and to honor our own needs for self-care and downtime. We can still be supportive without sacrificing our own wellbeing.
4. Remember that it’s not about us.
When someone is going through a tough time, it can be tempting to jump in and try to fix things. But often what people really need is simply someone to be there with them, to bear witness to their struggles without judgment or pressure to “fix” things. This means putting our own egos aside and remembering that our role is to support, not to take over or make things about us.
In conclusion, being a shoulder to cry on is one of the most important roles we can play in our relationships with others. It offers comfort, connection, and perspective, and can make a significant impact on someone’s mental and physical health. While it’s not always easy to know how best to support others through tough times, simply being present and offering empathy can go a long way in letting someone know they’re not alone. By being willing to show up for others in this way, we not only contribute to their wellbeing but deepen our own sense of purpose and connection as well.