The ONLY way to deal with emotions is to BE in them. Be in the lost and the loss. Admit you don’t know the answer or the way forward. That you are afraid, overwhelmed, angry.

I recently returned from a weekend retreat where the overriding theme was around loss and grief. It wasn’t the intended theme, but the facilitator simply allowed whatever came up for the group to define the process. It was a profound weekend of healing and sharing with a number of the participants dealing with grief around the loss of parents, siblings or partners, some recent, some long-held.

One of the participants had recently been given devastating news around her health. As a busy and capable mother, wife and coach she was struggling to deal with it. “I feel so lost” she said. “I don’t know the way forward with this.” Tears glistened in her beautiful blue-green eyes. The facilitator gently replied “I invite you to just be in the lost”.

As humans we are constantly seeking answers, wanting the logical solutions to everything. Usually Google, the God of Knowledge as the facilitator refers to it, can help out with just about anything. This participant was racking her brains as to how she could have “created” this dis-ease in her body. What had she done “wrong” to have warranted such an awful fate?

Our thoughts can eat us alive. We live in a world where we are constantly told to be more, do more, strive strive strive!

We are not Superheroes. We are human. Being human means experiencing it all, the pleasant and the unpleasant. Being in the loss and the lost is how we move forward, how we grow, how we thrive.

We are living in unprecedented times. Where much of what was known and familiar has been ripped away. Coping with multi-levels of grief – over deaths of loved ones, lost businesses, income, lifestyle, dreams and plans. We really need to stop and process these emotions. We need to be in the lost and the loss.

Suppressing emotions is one of the most dangerous things we can do to ourselves. Suppressing them doesn’t mean they go away, or dissipate. We internalize them and ignore them. We tell anyone who asks “I’m fine” (which we all know means Frigging Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional) and we soldier on. In the meantime those suppressed emotions grow, expand and intensify.

The ONLY way to deal with emotions is to BE in them. Not numb them or distract with various addictions. Be in the lost and the loss. Admit you don’t know the answer or the way forward. That you are afraid, overwhelmed, angry. Simply allow the way you are feeling. Acknowledge the fear, cry out the pain, allow the frustration. Find ways to do this – punch a pillow, scream out loud (the car while you are driving is a really good place for this, I’ve found), journal, talk to someone. But it needs to be someone who will simply receive what it is you need to say, without judgement or wanting to fix anything. Get help. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and say “I’m struggling”.

We are not Superheroes. We are human. Being human means experiencing it all, the pleasant and the unpleasant. Being in the loss and the lost is how we move forward, how we grow, how we thrive.

One of my passions is to support people who may be struggling with loss, or bereavement, so please reach out if you are needing support and let’s chat more. Email me at reconnectme@spiralpath.co.za

Di Atherton

Author Di Atherton

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