Romans 12:14-16"...Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody."
When I was interning at my first church, I remember very vividly how my down days would go. The pastor's wife there, whatever good intention she had, would see that I was down and tell me I had to not let my emotions rule me but I was to rule my emotions. She would then advise me to put on church music and worship my way out of it. She had a very caring spirit but here is where I believe this scripture comes into play and where she was wrong.
What is it saying when we say we need to worship our way out of sadness? Logic would tells us then that sadness is bad. Is sadness bad? NO. It is an emotion that God gave us. In fact, in this specific scripture, God tells us to be sad with those who are sad. We are not to force our way out, OR TELL OTHERS TO DO IT, but we are to get down with them. I am reminded while I type about scenes in the old testament where someone's family member has died. They would rip their beard and tear their robe and fall down to the dust. They would literally pour the dirt over their heads in anguish. Think about the symbolism here. To them they believed the creation story, where we came from dust. Obviously rolling around in it would remind us that that is where we came and that is where we will go. To help us understand that death happens, doesn't totally cure our mourning but it does take the sting out a little. Also, the beard was a sign of pride, the longer the beard, the better the man. To actually pluck out your beard, I can't imagine, is to say you are nothing. God gives and God takes away. It is a sign of saying that you are not in control.
I seem to be ranting. What I mean is this. When you see a person falling to their knees and ripping out their beard and throwing dirt on their face. Don't pull them up and slap them and tell them to get it together. Get down on the ground, rip out your beard and start throwing dust on your own head. Show them that you understand or that you want to understand, that is a true friend.