I recently spoke with a friend who is working through the grieving process after unexpectedly losing a loved one. Within her eyes I expected to see hurt, sadness, or pain. I even thought that I might see numbness on her face – as many who face the grieving process tend to shut down for a time and just cope. Instead, I was amazed by what I saw – I saw joy on her face. How, I wondered, could it be that someone who recently lost someone so close to them could have joy? So, I ventured to ask.
“It’s simple,” she replied. “I allow myself to feel all of the emotions.”
Such a strong statement – I allow myself to feel.
Many people walk through life afraid of embracing emotions and this causes them to miss out on so many great things.
My friend explained how she made a conscious decision to embrace her emotions after losing her loved one. She gave herself permission to cry, permission to be angry, permission to hurt. And by facing those emotions head on and embracing them and really feeling them, she was able to work through them.
But, she also gave herself permission to laugh, smile, and feel joy. So many in the grieving process rob themselves of these emotions as they feel guilty for being happy again. But, she explained to me that the best way she could honor her loved one is to go on living – that didn’t mean to just cope, but to truly live.
As we talked further she explained that she still has difficult days. And she continues to give herself permission to stop and face those emotions – and she will continue to as long as those emotions come around. What a healthy way to work through a difficult emotional process.
What emotions do you stuff deep down inside that you are afraid to face? How do you handle emotions that aren’t pleasant? Are you ready to embrace your emotions and allow yourself to feel again?