How feeling sad now makes you feel happier later
I have a confession to make. I wrote an eBook about coming to peace with my emotional pain surrounding my infertility struggles. And although I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will 99 percent most likely only have one child, I still sometimes feel deeply sad that I can’t have what I want in my life – to have more children.
Just because you’ve moved past your emotional pain doesn’t mean you’re unaffected by all situations that might trigger painful feelings.
I accept my current reality, and I even truly believe that it could be the best thing to happen to my daughter, my husband and me – collectively and individually.
But even though I’ve moved into an overly joyful life and come to peace with many pains, I still feel a heavy heart at times. It’s usually triggered by a specific type of situation – like a close friend becoming pregnant or having a baby. Sometimes I’m prepared; other times I’m blindsided as the pain comes swiftly like a knife digging deep into my heart.
Not exactly what you expect from a completely-at-peace-with-the-way-the-world-unfolds gal, huh?
But it's reality. And one of the biggest lessons I help my clients with is accepting
their emotions...acknowledging them, letting them run their course, and then moving on.
So when I felt upset to my core upon learning a few months ago that several close friends will be living a dream I’ve held for years (having their second child), I followed my own advice:
I honored my feelings. I give them a space to exist. And I felt those emotions deeply.
For me, that meant crying. And journaling. And admitting my honest feelings to my husband. (He shared his with me, too.)
I didn't judge myself. When I started to wonder why I was still feeling sad over friends' pregnancies, I simply stopped myself. I was sad and that was all that mattered in that moment. No judgment...no feeling silly for getting all emotional. No criticizing myself.
Just feeling whatever came up and accepting it.
I didn't dismiss my emotions as meaningless. I didn’t lock them up inside me, pretending they didn’t exist. And I didn't offer false cheery and excited congratulations for my friends in that moment. (Side note – I AM happy for every woman who gets to experience the joy of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. My issues are MY issues and never really have anything to do with whoever recently became pregnant or had a baby.)
I also hugged my daughter. And I thanked the Universe for all the wonderful goodness that DOES exist in my life. I'm a firm believer that there’s ALWAYS something to be grateful for, no matter how much you’re suffering.
Oh, and I watched a bit of mindless TV because, really, sometimes that's just the best freakin’ therapy you can ever give yourself.
And you know what? I'm so glad I gave myself the space to really FEEL all those yucky emotions. I was sad. I was lonely. I was upset. I was left with unanswered questions. And I just sat with them. Wallowed in them.
And I felt better, so much better, after a few days. I felt lighter and unburdened. I felt happier. I wasn’t holding onto grudges or pretending to feel unaffected by the news.
I was authentic. I was honest. I let my emotions run their course.
I fully processed the sadness and upset out of my system. (And that’s when I offered my heartfelt congratulations to my friends.)
If we can live our lives seeing everything as a chance to heal, then every single moment and experience – even the especially hard ones – are truly a gift and an opportunity for us to become more aware and evolved.
And that’s how I moved past my emotional pain...again. It probably won’t be the last time I experience such sadness. But every time those feelings do arise, I will thank the Universe for the opportunity to grow. And I will trust that by truly experiencing the emotions, I am deepening my happiness.
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