Submitted by Allison Allen
Hello! Happy Wednesday! I know, seems like Tuesday, doesn’t it? This week Wednesday is the new Tuesday (thank you, Memorial Day weekend!)
Over said weekend I was listening to David Kessler on the radio, talking about grief, as he does so very, very well. One of the things he said is that we seem to be doing a lot of interrupting our own grief and sadness. We start to talk, or think, about what is hard for us, and within minutes, maybe seconds, guilt kicks in and we interrupt our feeling with some version of “I have nothing to complain about…I have a job…my family isn’t sick…we are so lucky to live where we are, etc. etc. I have done this myself, many times. What, after all, do I have to complain about, really? I can pay my mortgage, buy groceries. I have health insurance!
That’s all great, except…it misses the point. Those are all good things to be aware of, and when felt with gratitude they support my wellbeing. When felt with guilt, telling me I have no right to be sad/stressed/scared, those thoughts are just a version of me trying not to feel what I feel. It doesn’t lead me to feel better. Instead, it is exhausting – it’s much more of an effort to try NOT to feel something than to just allow the feeling to arrive, do its thing, and then leave on its own. Which it always, always, always does!
So, my pro tip for the day is this; when you feel sad, or scared, or angry, try just feeling it. Don’t worry about whether it’s justified. It’s a feeling, it doesn’t require justification. Don’t worry whether someone else has it worse. They do. And they have their own feelings to deal with. They won’t feel better if you stuff your feelings, any more than those starving kids on the other side of the globe felt better when you cleaned your plate as a kid. Just have the feeling, give it a little space, and move on with your day. You’ll feel better. Really.
Allison Allen is NorthLakes Chief Behavioral Health Officer