There I sat. Holding the hand of a man who had lost so much in the past handful of months.
Both of his legs
His ability to care for himself
His identity as a man; as a provider for his family
He told me his story, openly and honestly. He told me what he longs for, his deepest regrets and his fear of what his future holds.
Then, we sat in silence. We sat with intention; holding space for these losses, for his pain, to be there, just as they were. Raw. Unedited.
His hand began quivering. And tears began to fall down his face.
I looked in his eyes and squeezed his hand, acknowledging and validating the unspeakable amount of grief and pain he was experiencing. He didn’t blink, didn’t wipe the tears, but gazed back into my eyes.
The tears continued to falls.
Eventually, he spoke.
“Thank you for not trying to make it better. Thank you for letting me feel these feelings. If there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that I have to feel the feelings to really heal.”
I’ll give you another moment to absorb the power behind that statement. I know I needed one!
To really feel all of the feelings… is scary.
To really feel the feelings… is brave.
To really feel the feelings… requires you to show up as you are. Without pretenses or an agenda.
To really feel the feelings… requires you to trust yourself. That you can surf the wave, and come out on the other side.
To know that you need to feel the feelings in order to make sense of things and begin the healing process… that’s enlightened.
It certainly doesn’t come naturally. We’ve been taught that crying is for the weak. That the more we stifle and push against what’s bubbling over, the more successful we’ll be. We’ve been conditioned to believe that emotions aren’t safe. So we run. We numb. We push back. And what happens?
The feelings come back. Most times, stronger than ever. We continue to run, until eventually we hit a brick wall.
There’s nowhere else to go. Nowhere but in.
This might make it a bit easier for you:
- Tune in. How does your body feel when you’re hit with an emotional surge? Get curious. Now, whenever you feel this sensation, allow it to ground you in the present. As long as you are in the here and now, you’re able to ride the wave without it crashing down on you.
- Allow your feelings to guide you. Allow them to warn you that something is out of whack, that you are off course, that you need to do some healing.
- Put an end to judging what you’re feeling. No, you aren’t weak. You aren’t less of a man. You aren’t a sensitive Sally. You are human. And you’re doing the best you can.
- As you experience the feelings, tend and speak to yourself like you would your best friend.
- Know that it takes practice. By actually engaging with your emotions, you’re bound to kick up some dirt. Don’t forget that it takes time for the dust to settle.
- Make time for self-care. Because you are the most important person in your life.
- Reach out for support from someone that you trust to handle you with care. Reach out to a family member, a friend, a therapist, a pastor or a priest. Anyone who will see you and accept you in a raw, vulnerable place.
At first you may feel like you have an emotional hangover. But it will get easier. It takes practice to allow yourself to ride this wave. And, it takes time to heal.
I am currently accepting counseling clients who are ready to feel the feelings. To look inward and do the work to heal their wounds.
Ready to get started? Shoot me an email. I’m prepared to support you and hold the space for your story, for your struggles and for your rawest, unedited emotions.