Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in 1997. Prince Harry was then aged 12.
Now 31, he made an interesting comment on the BBC news last night.
“I regret not talking until three years ago, about my mother’s death and how it had affected me,” he shared. “I’d held it in for 28 years.”
He was hosting an event for a charity called Heads Together which he formed with Prince William and Kate.
Its purpose is to bring together all the leading mental health charities to highlight the fact that anyone, including royalty, can suffer mental health issues. There were celebs there too, many of whom had suffered depression.
My interest was immediately sparked because I had suggested in my book Radical Forgiveness, Making Room for the Miracle, that it was perhaps Diana Spencer’s mission to marry Prince Charles, be cruelly rejected by him, share her pain publically on TV, and then die in a tragic way in order to open the heart chakra of England.
This would allow the Brits to drop their emotional stoicism, become open to feeling their feelings, and sharing them openly with others. I believe she did achieve that, at least for a time.
I find it fascinating, therefore, that both of her sons have chosen to highlight the fact, almost two decades later, that using denial and suppression of one’s emotional pain by refusing to talk about it is a disease in and of itself.
Bravo, I say! When 1 in 5 people in the UK have had to use anti-depressants at some time in their lives just to stay barely functional, something needs to change.
If it takes a princess and two princes of the realm to do it, so much the better.
There’s no question that processing emotional pain simply by talking about it is amazingly therapeutic.
It’s a lot better and much cheaper than suppressing it with alcohol, drugs, medications, and other addictions. It really lightens the load.
However, the kicker is that an entire people having evolved over centuries not talking about their own feelings make lousy listeners.
They tend to be uncomfortable with other peoples’ emotions and subconsciously try to close them down. They drop their eyes. They squirm in their seats. They fidget.
They attempt to hug the person, not so much out of a desire to comfort them, as to stop them expressing their pain.
They are quick to change the subject, shift the conversation to themselves, and come up with suggestions about what the person should do to ‘feel better.’
They find it really hard just to be with the person emoting, saying little or nothing, being present, not intervening, honoring the other person’s feelings and allowing empathy to arise within themselves.
Listening is a skill that we all would do well to give some time to learning so we can really BE with a person who needs to talk.
It is one of the things we give great emphasis to in our 10-day live training to become a Radical Living Master Coach. We have a module called Active Listening and I am assiduous in assessing our students ability to listen and be totally present for someone. It is a element they are tested on and have to pass. That’s how much importance we feel it deserves.