After we moved into a new house, a few years ago, I was standing in the living room of my new house trying to arrange a window scarf the way my Mom did hers. My partner and son and I worked at it for an hour, and it still didn’t look like my Mom’s. I had a fleeting thought that I should call her and ask her how she did hers.
And then I remembered, she died almost two years ago. At that point, I burst into tears, experiencing the grief of losing her all over again. Silly me, I thought I had moved through the grief of losing my Mom, but it seems to never really be gone, just dormant, waiting for the right moment to strike.
Over the last couple of weeks I have worked with several clients experiencing a similar phenomenon. We have this silly idea that we just “get over” emotional pain, loss, grief and trauma. This is a myth. It becomes a part of who we are, eases with time, but is always there. I think this is a good thing. I think this makes us strong, vulnerable, empathetic people. As I experienced a resurgence of grief I also experienced a flood of happy memories about my Mom. I looked around my new house, seeing her influence everywhere and experienced gratitude for who she was and the legacy she left me.
Emotions are powerful and involuntary influences in our daily lives. The key is to allow them, move through them, and not get hung up on them. When you feel an emotion arise, allow it to happen. There are no bad emotions, despite what we have been taught. Unhealthy emotions are the ones that get stuck in our energy/physical bodies because we suppress them, rather than just allow them to happen and then move on. It is ok to feel angry, hurt or sad. When you feel this way, express it. Cry, scream, punch a pillow or write in your journal. Every emotion is valid, but once it is expressed, move on. There is no need for a long evaluation for why you felt that way, or if you should have felt that way. Emotions just are, they exist, they happen to us, the choice we have is how to express them, not if we have them in the first place.
We seem to be going through a period where past issues are arising, allowing us to handle them in a healthier way this time around. What a gift! Be intentional about how you deal with this. Recognize old triggers and pain from your past when they arise, don’t run and hide, face them head on. Take the time to care for yourself. Recognize when you need a moment to feel something, choose a positive way to express it and then move on. Practice being vulnerable with your loved ones. Let them in, share your experience. You can be a good example to those around you, showing them that it is ok to feel things. As I stood in my living, crying for my Mom, my partner and son hugged me and expressed their love for me and their own grief. It was a beautiful moment, filled with love. This is the legacy I want to leave for my son, it is ok to feel and express emotions outwardly, this is a beautiful part of being human.
I went deeper with this topic on my radio show, Kindred Spirits.
Listen to the show here!