In the past few months, I've realized how unskilled I am "being with" emotions. One of the many complex things about being a parent of a beautiful young daughter is that when the emotions come (and they are usually tears) my very first learned action is to try to fix whatever's up. I had a very similar experience growing up, an understandable byproduct of growing up with 4 brothers as challenging as me.
I'm observing (perhaps for the first time) how it spills into personal relationships.
First, when friends tell me that they are making difficult decisions or are going through tough times, my reaction tends to be "what can I do" rather than "how does it feel". It's certainly a typical male trait, so I'm not alone, but it doesn't make it easier to live with.
The second, and perhaps more troubling part, is that when I'm going through tough times, I have difficulty letting friends and family in to be with me through it. I almost put pressure on myself to get through it. And when I'm talking to friends, I guess I expect them to help me through by either doing something to help or telling me how I might help myself.
I really feel like it's my responsibility to get through it. And being with my emotions is part of it. I'm not particularly interested in immediate action that may solve practical issues that aren't set upon a sturdy emotional foundation.
In any case, being with emotions feels unsatisfying and vulnerable. Talking about feeling that way is a virtual emotional double down because now not only am I feeling what I'm feeling but I'm also feeling what it feels like to be feeling that feeling. (LADIES AND GENTLEMEN I HAVE OFFICIALLY GONE INTO THE ALAN ALDA VORTEX.)
Perhaps that last sentence helps me clarify how I feel in these times, confused.