And don't tell me what to do And don't tell me what to say And please, when I go out with you Don't put me on display, 'cause
You don't own me, don't try to change me in any way You don't own me, don't tie me down 'cause I'd never stay
Oh, I don't tell you what to say I don't tell you what to do So just let me be myself That's all I ask of you
I'm young and I love to be young I'm free and I love to be free To live my life the way I want To say and do whatever I please
A-a-a-nd don't tell me what to do Oh-h-h-h don't tell me what to say And please, when I go out with you Don't put me on display
I don't tell you what to say Oh-h-h-h don't tell you what to do So just let me be myself That's all I ask of you
I'm young and I love to be young I'm free and I love to be free To live my life the way I want
When bad things happen, I have found that people want to stop you from feeling raw emotions and pain. The most common response is to tell me not to worry. Having survived Quiverful and Patriarchal Christianity that says you aren't allowed to feel ANY emotions but happy and positive, I can assure you that this approach is the wrong approach. As well meaning as it feels to tell anyone not to feel something, think something, or even to worry, it's invalidating and insulting.
As uncomfortable as feelings are, there are nothing more than feelings. Every person on this earth has a right to have their own feelings, to own those feelings, and to have others respect their right to have those feelings.
There are exactly two events in my life that knocked me off my ability to function. The first involved being raped, stalked, impregnated, thrown out of my home, and ultimately placed the child for adoption. The second was discovering that my spouse had cheated on me with at least 40 women. My life seems to be about if it can go wrong, then it will. Yet, I continue forward and normally adapt the mentality that "It is what it is." II's appointment is not until July. The chances that this news will knock me off my feet, at least until we know what is truly going on, is non-existent. That doesn't mean I won't struggle emotionally. I have a right to my feelings.
So, when you find yourself with someone you love having something truly horrible happening in their life, here is some education. Don't tell them what to do. Don't tell them it will be okay. You cannot possibly know that. Don't minimize what they are feeling. Don't immediately move to make yourself less uncomfortable because where they are is uncomfortable. Validate them. Listen to them. Love on them. If they would appreciate it, offer to pray for them. Ask what you can do to help them. It's not hard. It just starts by respecting their right and need to process through whatever they are facing with authenticity and without being told what to do. It's really that simple.