Tag Archives: Feeling

Stop Asking: “Are You OK?”

A few weeks ago, I levelled a criticism at parents who attempt to dissuade their children from feeling their feelings in the moment. That is, as soon as they begin to cry, parents usually try to quash the children’s feeling by saying, “You’re OK,” or “You’re fine.” I think that this same attitude carries on when parents (or people) are dealing with older children (or other people) and something happens.

Consider a couple of teenagers who are playing soccer. One of them falls down and ceases playing for a couple of seconds. Almost always, the teenager who hasn’t fallen will immediately say to the other, “Are you OK?” I’m sure we’ve all been the teenager who’s fallen and scraped our knee and I’m sure we’ve all been the teenager who asks our friend if they’re OK, but this is an extension of the problem that begins when we’re toddlers — we’re not allowing the person the space to feel the feelings that they’re feeling.

By quickly jumping in and asking, “Are you OK?” one probably thinks that they’re being a good friend. My friend has just hurt themselves, so I should ask and see if they’re okay. Certainly, that’s the right spirit. However, by jumping in so quickly, it’s actually demonstrating to your friend that you’re uncomfortable with their pain/feelings. Let’s say that your friend starts to cry. Forgot that, let’s say that you have just begun to cry. When you’re crying, do you really want someone to ask how you’re doing? Well, if you’ve been asked that you’re whole life, you probably do, but if you stop and think about it for a second, when you’re crying (or when you’re upset), the best thing for you is space.

I’m not saying you (or your friend) should walk away when you (or your friend) begins to cry, no. Instead, you (or your friend) should sit there with you and allow you the space to feel the feelings — let you cry. After an acceptable amount of time (this varies), then it might be appropriate to break the silence, but if it were me, I’d actually wait until the person who’s crying begins saying something. By simply being there with your friend in their time of need, you’re holding a safe space that allows them to process their emotions/feelings. And if/when you do that, you’ll be giving your friend a gift they probably haven’t had the chance to experience.

How Trusting Your Gut Can Save You From Sizable Stress

I mentioned recently that I’m in the process of moving back to Canada. If you’ve ever moved, you know that there are certainly lots of things that you have to do when it comes time to start packing the truck. More than that, there are even more things you have to consider when you’re moving to a different country. Granted, some might say that Canada isn’t all that different from the USA, but it is still technically a different country, so that means that there is likely to be paperwork you wouldn’t have had to deal with, had you just been moving to a different part of the country or across town.

On the day of the move (packing the moving truck and leaving the apartment for the last time), I had a couple of library books that had to be returned. Now, I knew I’d be coming back to the area in a couple of months and I knew that these books wouldn’t be due until after I made my trip back to the area, but I just had this feeling that I should return the books on the day of the move. It wasn’t entirely rational, especially given that there were so many other move-related things I could have been doing.

When I get to the library, I hand my books over to the person behind the desk and I start to turn to leave. Just as I do that, I get the sense that I might as well make sure that there’s nothing else showing that I owe on my account. She asks for my library card and then checks the system. Yes, you seem to still have The Power of Habit and What Money Can’t Buy checked out.

I was so confused because I had returned these books about a week earlier when I picked up the two books that I was returning today. She said that it was showing in their system that I still had them checked out, so I explained to her how that wasn’t possible given that I returned them the day that I picked up the books I was returning today. She said that maybe they were still in the back and hadn’t been taken off of my account, so she went to go look.

They weren’t there.

When she came back, I kind of started to panic a little bit. I realize now that having to pay for this library book wouldn’t have been that great of a hassle, but when all your mind is thinking about is packing a 26′ moving truck in a few hours…

Then she said that maybe the books were on the shelf. On the shelf!? I thought. How could they be on the shelf and not shown as returned on my account. She said that it happens sometimes, so her and I went to check the shelves.

Sure enough, that’s where the books were. On the shelf.

As we were riding back down in the elevator, I asked her what would have happened had I not come in today and got this taken care of before I left town. She told me that they probably would have charged my account. To which I said, even though the books were on the shelves? She replied: “Yup!”


I certainly understand the importance of biases in decision-making, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll completely ignore a gut feeling. Sometimes, a gut feeling is so strong that we can’t help but check-in and see what’s going on. I’ve had experiences like this before, so I knew well enough when I was getting this kind of a response from my gut, I needed to follow-through with it. I encourage you to do the same, but don’t take it lightly. It’s important to learn the difference between hunger pangs and a gut feeling. It takes time, so don’t be so hard on yourself if it doesn’t come to you right away.


A Newfound Sense of Empathy: Taking Medicine for Dizziness or Headaches

When I got out of bed this morning, I wasn’t feeling very well. To be more specific, when I stood up, I felt a bit dizzy. The more I moved my head, the dizzier I felt. I laid down — dizzier, still. It wasn’t until I realized if I sat up, the dizzying feeling stopped. Now, this might not sound strange to a lot of you, but for me, being sick (or feeling unwell) is not something I’m familiar with.

I rarely — rarely — get sick. And when I do, it’s usually some kind of cold. The experience I had this morning was very humbling. There wasn’t a lot I could do to make myself feel better. I just sat there on the bathroom floor, trying not to think about … the things that usually happen when you’re sick. The best word I can think to describe it: humbling.

It’s important to rest when you’re sick, but when I wrote that piece, I didn’t consider the incapacitating feeling of being dizzy or having an “unusual” or abnormal feeling in your head. If your head’s not right, there really isn’t anything you can do.

I’m saying all of this because my experience this morning gave me a better understanding of why people take aspirin (or other kinds of pharmaceuticals). I suppose I’ve been rather lucky in life — I haven’t been very ill (or had many injuries). My one visit to the hospital was for taking a baseball to the face (maybe one day I’ll share that story on here). So, because I’ve had little need to take these kinds of drugs, I’ve always wondered why people appeared to be so dependent on them (I’m taking more about aspirin or things that help you when your sick, not other, more debilitating kinds of maladies/diseases). After my experience today, I have a newfound understanding for those who feel it necessary to take this kind of medicine.