Don’t Apologize for Showing Emotion

People cry in mediation all the time, and they always apologize for it. Without fail, whenever emotions start to well up people always say “I’m sorry” and then offer a reason as to why they’re so upset. So far I haven’t had someone who hasn’t apologized for their tears. Is it because we’re so trained by the culture around us to think that emotion is somehow a sign of weakness? Do we feel that we’re imposing on others when they see us cry?

Of course no one needs to ever apologize to me about crying or breaking down. In fact, when clients get choked up with emotion I know that they’ve hit onto something that matters. It’s often when the tears come out that I know that we’ve gotten to the root of an issue. Some people have a difficult time articulating their feelings, but their raw emotion belies their pain, frustration, and anger. When clients get emotional I’m also very honoured that they trust me enough to be able to cry in front of me. I try to create a safe space where people feel free to express whatever emotions they need.

Family lawyers want to stick to the facts and will sometimes tell their clients that point blank. Their offices aren’t usually a place to talk out feelings. Mediation, however, is so much more than numbers and facts. In mediation I welcome and encourage clients to express all the emotions they’re feeling. It’s often critical to the process for them to be able to vent and express themselves to their ex. They need to get things out and on the table to ever have the chance to be able to move forward.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Apologize for Showing Emotion”

  1. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Many thanks

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