A lot of us bury the pain of our past and go on for years carrying it around deep inside. Once in a while maybe we allow ourselves to have a good cry, but for the most part, we lock away our grief. Burying the pain and putting up a giant wall around it was serving you and protecting you at the time from feeling any sort of negative emotions. But looking at your pain honestly, allows you to experience the deepest possible connections with people in your life. It’s so much easier to sweep things under the rug, but in order to create the life that you want you have to go down and feel the feelings. It’s time to grieve differently and to feel the things that are buried away.
If you’re like me then you’re on the path of a warrior. Something traumatic or really hard happened in your past that you feel like you can never get over. You believe that this thing defines you. You put pressure on yourself to reach some sort of closure, but what I’ve learned is closure is an illusion. You don’t have to put pressure on yourself, it adds an element to grief that we don’t need. It makes us feel like we have to be in a certain place in our grief by a certain time or we’re failing. There’s nothing in our lives that we endure that we can’t figure out a way to integrate and move forward in a productive way.
I look at my trauma and there are still moments where something might provoke me to go into deep grief but mostly I’m functioning well and I’m not thinking about it every day. You don’t have to totally be over the trauma. I think we have this mentality of “Oh yea I’m not affected by this anymore, I’m totally over it”. But when I look back to hard things in my life am I totally over it? No! There’s always going to be a place inside of me that feels it, but it’s not an excuse for me to not have what I want in life. Do I wake up sad about it every day? No! Do I think about it all the time? No, but it was a significant event that shaped me and I think part of being human and having a heart is we have these difficult moments, we have losses, we have grief, and we learn how to relate to them differently.
You could use this as the scapegoat for why you’re broke, why you don’t have what you want, why you don’t have the relationship, why you can’t have the career, or you can choose to get the tools you need to process these significant life events. There are some wonderful tools out there that have been the most useful to me in the grieving process and will help you change the way you relate to the pain and the way it lives inside of you.
This is a great tool for healing and growth. This is your time to vomit out the rage and sadness. The reason it’s so important to write it all down is it opens you up to expressing your feelings and processing yourself in a different way. It opens you up to understandings that you may not get to if you’re just trying to work it out in your head.
So often when we’re in the depths of our despair and we’re really miserable with whatever it is we’re going through, that we have a tendency to isolate. This is the exact last thing we need to be doing for ourselves. Depression thrives on isolation. Reach out and connect with friends, family, support groups, online, any sort of connection is so helpful to help you move through whatever you’re going through. It’s especially helpful to connect with others who have gone through something similar because we’re reminded that we aren’t alone. When we’re going through grief, trauma, or heartache we feel the most alone and we feel like no one understands what we’re going through, but the truth is a lot of people can. You don’t have to experience my trauma to understand what pain, anger, and sadness feels like. You can connect to each other through that grief. That connection is so important. You’re not alone. We’re all struggling and trying to make sense of this crazy ride called life.
- Reflect on other challenging moments
Look at other moments in your life where you felt those same emotions and remind yourself of how you moved on from it. We have a tendency to think we can’t survive things. Also, remind yourself that you weren’t the same person you were 10/20 years ago. Who I am right now is a completely different person then I was 10 years ago so all of the challenges that life throws at me I have so much more resilience built up in me to survive whatever I’m forced to survive.
- Allow yourself to grieve and fully feel your emotions
Cry, rage, scream, allow yourself to do whatever you need to do. Instead of numbing like reaching for the ice cream, a cigarette, the remote or a glass of wine, allow yourself to really grieve and feel your emotions for the first time. Let yourself get it all out and when you’re finished remember to connect to the idea that love is the guiding force in your life. If you can make love your mission and show up in your life with love, your life will blossom in ways you couldn’t even imagine.
Remember: If you’re out there struggling and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel let me remind you this too shall pass. Nothing lasts forever, not even darkness.