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Stay in your own swim lane. Please. People are distressed by tears or seeing somebody they love feeling bad. It’s natural. Many times, I have heard, “Oh, I didn’t mean to make you cry,” or “Should I leave?” or “Do you want to go away and come back when you feel better?” You didn’t make me cry. I just cried because it felt better than squashing the tears down. You don’t need to leave and neither do I. Unless one of us wants to. You are not responsible for my feelings and I am not responsible for yours. Sadness is like clouds passing by unless I am so focused on suppressing it that it festers. I am OK crying in front of people, even on stages. Other people aren’t. It’s a personal preference and the right decision is the one which feels right for you. There is no rule book for how to act in this situation and, yes, it’s awkward.

Occasionally, I come across someone who, when I share my story, TELLS me how I feel, says they know me better than I know myself and that I am WRONG about me. Sometimes, I have just met the person. I start by gently reminding them that I know myself and I am well, sad but healthy. If they persist, telling me about their experience that was just like mine in a compare and contrast, I get irritated and then rude. Even if you have been a caregiver or widow yourself, we are different people so our experiences and reactions will also differ. I call this behavior lacking energetic integrity, where the other person’s opinions bleed over as a filter into the conversation. They can be aggressive like, “No, listen to me!” and it feels like an attack. Their words will be directive like, “You do…, you listen, you don’t and no.” Especially if they read energy, emotions and body language, beyond the words you speak, it can be creepy.

Provided you maintain your own boundaries and stand in your true knowing, there is no danger. DO NOT accept their interpretation of you! Ever. You know you better than they ever will. especially if you just met. You live in your own skin. Trust yourself. Stay in your own swim lane. Let them stay in theirs where they belong, even if their interaction with you is well-meaning. Pay attention to your own body’s message about whether this is a good interaction or a toxic one. If it’s toxic, get away. And you don’t even need to feel guilty. Your wellbeing is your only and primary responsibility.

You trust you and act accordingly.