Sunday, April 26, 2015

"It's Okay to Feel That Way"

I was out with my 15-year-old daughter tonight and talking to her about some friendship strife I've been in the midst of lately -- about some hurt I had experienced, my struggles with what to do about it, and such.

She's my sweet compassionate one... and after a little thought, she said, "Well... I think it's okay that you feel that way." It's funny how that little bit of permission makes you feel.

It made me think about how we don't allow ourselves to feel the hard emotions. There is an emphasis on joy and happiness, a belief that these are the "good" emotions and that you are doing something wrong if you wallow too long in grief or sadness or sorrow.

And that "too long" is really a very short amount of time.

I think that sometimes those harder, less-pleasant emotions have a purpose. There is a healing purpose to them... but if we shove ourselves out of them too quickly, we have robbed ourselves of the chance to heal healthily.  And while we're whipping ourselves into a happy frenzy and insisting that life is good, we're missing the chance to walk through our heartache and heal it from the inside.

For myself, I think a longer healing time might be necessary. I can whip myself up into joy with the best of them, but I'm not sure that's really going to serve me well in the long run. My biggest danger there, I think, is being sure that I understand the connection between sorrow, hurt, and anger.

The anger is there to protect you from the sorrow and the hurt. There is a protective part of you that wants to go there.  But that anger moves very quickly from protecting you to hurting who hurt you. And that truly isn't where I want to go. Hurting someone else doesn't heal the hurt in myself. It just makes more hurt to be healed.

So, this time, I'm going with my daughter and telling myself that it's okay to feel this way.

I've lost, or am losing, a friendship that meant a lot to me, and I'm sad. I've been hurt by some things, but more so by the indifference to that hurt than anything -- and I feel wounded. I'm struggling with questions of honesty and doubt and self-trust, and I'm twisted around.

And maybe this time, instead of searching for the silver lining to make myself feel better, I'm just going to allow myself to be a little sad for awhile.

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