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Pay attention to your emotions

“Emotions are the next frontier to be understood and conquered. To manage our emotions is not to drug them or suppress them, but to understand them so that we can intelligently direct our emotional energies and intentions…. It’s time for human beings to grow up emotionally, to mature into emotionally managed and responsible citizens. No magic pill will do it.”

– Doc Childre

Many of us believe that we need to keep a tight lid on our emotions. We fear that if we ever allow these emotions to be expressed, they will do serious damage.

But if we summon up the courage to truly feel our emotions, we discover that they don’t last. The monster in the closet turns out to be a pussycat. In fact, if we are willing to experience our emotions completely, without resistance of any kind, they burn themselves out in only a few minutes.

The only thing that keeps emotions alive within you over long periods is your unwillingness to acknowledge them.

“By starving emotions we become humorless, rigid and stereotyped; by repressing them we become literal, reformatory and holier-than-thou; encouraged, they perfume life; discouraged, they poison it.”

– Joseph Collins


When one is confronted with a grief situation, more times than not they will have a host of emotions come flooding in. When in conversation they will generally say that, “I just cannot believe they are gone”.

The initial shock of what has taken place can and is that overwhelming. There is so much information to process at the time of the death that we emotionally put up a wall to protect ourselves. We want and need to control what all information we let in. It is paramount to controlling the dosage of suffering we are going to go through.

When a tragic event occurs and the normal stages of grief ensue, denial and/or disbelief is the first one to go through. The first and obvious question people have is “why”? Many people can answer that with their own interpretation of the death however the grief survivor will eventually come to their own conclusion in answering that question.

Repetitious learning can usually be of great significance. Continually asking the why question is a good example of this. It needs to be done and exhausted so as to be able to move on and through other stages without getting stuck. Even though that “why” question is capable of eating you up inside, it needs to be continually asked. As surreal and unbelievable as many grief filled situations can be, people will want to know on their own timetable mind you, what truly happened and what is going on. They will only want and trust very reliable sources be it media, law enforcement, grief counselors or friends/family. Coping during grief is tough enough without adding bogus information to the mix.

In reference to the question about disbelief and does it ever go away? Time and work helps to diminish this however by living through the loss helps you to come to grips with your life without this person now.

Referring to the” wall” people put up helps to give purpose to your disbelief. To feel all of this at once can be extremely detrimental so you take it in incrementally so as to not hurt so much. Shock is a great magic carpet for awhile however when that wears off reality hurts. Yes—by consciously stating, “I know this will not always affect me like this” is helpful, emotionally we never know when a feeling of disbelief will wash over us. It slowly fades but know it is possible to be with you for the rest of your life.

One of the many hurdles grieving people have to contend with is that of the holiday season. For many, during November they would just as soon spin the calendar forward to January and do the express lane of holiday grief. It seems as though unless you barricade yourself in a basement for two months, there is no escaping all of the good cheer that abounds.
Holidays like most other aspects of life have changed for always. As a person going through grief, just the thought of enjoying themselves at a holiday gathering is the farthest thing from their life. Guilt, shame, blame, loss, pain, anxiety fear—these all replace the fun, joy, excitement expectations, happiness which holidays generally bring.
Planning ahead before holidays arrive seem to be the best defense against feeling the effects of getting overwhelmed. Making a plan to remember, to feel and to include the memory of your loved one during family gatherings is most paramount to create a new way of “holidaying.”
Yes—family and friend functions are forever changed yet somehow we manage to create new memories and different traditions while possibly restoring some old.
One of the main focus grievers have found in coming back from grief’s edge is to always remember the loved one who has passed. Speak of their name and the memories made while they were here. Embrace the history made so as to keep bringing them along in life.
The main ingredient in going through grief is to become very expressive and respectful of your feelings. Learning how to manage them, embrace them however do not attempt to control or repress them will help tremendously during the holiday season. Glad sad, happy or blue, whatever you feel will always be honoring you.