Healing is not about seeking validation or approval for our grief. And it’s not about what we do to make ourselves feel better about feeling lousy. Healing is about attending to the grief and loss we feel ~ sitting patiently with and embracing it. Never mind if its right or wrong to feel what you feel. Just feel. And have compassion and patience with yourself as you stay present with your feelings. It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not, not really. I find the extreme, almost pathological, urge to avoid the inner pain of grief quite difficult to resist. Numbing merely removes my perception of the pain; it does nothing to fix the underlying brokenness.
Pain occurs to alert us to some sort of disequilibrium. It’s meant to spur us to seek healing. Healing requires me to change my perspective, to engage. Though I often feel like it, I’m not a shattered glass that requires piecing together. I am a walking wounded, in need of emotional and spiritual debridement. I must debride my wounds, must remove the damaged and dead parts in order to promote the potential for the growth and renewal of what’s left. Things have happened to me to get me to this point, and so I must happen to things in order to forge ahead into the light.
Healing teaches us why we feel the way we do, and we learn healthy responses to those feelings that help us restore equilibrium. Resisting pain increases its intensity. Think of a skier tumbling down the slope ~ skiers are taught that tensing muscles increases the severity of injuries sustained in the fall. Acceptance begins with acceptance of the feelings of grief. That means letting them flow through you ~ finding the resolve to make your burden lighter to carry.
At this point it has nothing to do with who or what gave you this burden, or with any notion of restitution for your suffering. It has only to do with self care. What must you do to remain present to your grief without feeling swallowed whole? Don’t deny yourself. Be kind to yourself. Tho’ don’t pity yourself.Do not spread your misery around for self-gratification; self-gratification is not healing. Feel all those negative emotions, tho’ don’t wallow in them. Be. Stay, don’t dissociate and don’t numb out. You are your most crucial witness.
Dig. What do you feel? Can you name the emotions? What are they? And why do you feel them?