I remember one day walking into a fellow counselor’s office and he asked me how I was doing. I considered him a sincere, safe man, so I answered completely honestly. “I’m feeling very lonely today.” His response took me by surprise, and I have never forgotten it. “Sounds like your loneliness needs a hug,” he said. I realized this was the very opposite of the posture I had taken toward my emotions that day – I was trying to NOT feel, NOT acknowledge, and NOT ‘go there.’ I took his advise, and turned TOWARD my lonely feelings, accepted and embraced them as mine and as ‘OK’ and normal… and I soon felt better.
I experienced a similar dynamic when my children were young. I’d be busy cooking dinner or washing dishes in the kitchen, and it seemed invariably these would be the times one of them would want my full attention. “Mom, mom, mom…. moooooooom!” I learned over time, that if I ignored and kept trying to ‘put them off’ and keep about my business, they’d not give up and not be satisfied. I came to realize that if I stopped what I was doing, got down on my knees at eye level, made eye contact, and gave my heart to whatever they were needing for just a few moments…. they’d feel ‘met’ and usually be able to go on their way to another task. And so could I.
In dealing with the pain of grief on a daily basis, the principles are similarly simple:
When different feelings come up, it is important to:
- Acknowledge them (accepting instead of ignoring our various emotions).
- Give attention to them (instead of pushing them away).
- Name the feeling as best you can (develop your emotional vocabulary).
- Speak warmly, understandingly to your self about what you feel.
This is the essence of HONORING YOUR HEART.
This is SELF RESPECT; treating yourself as you would like to be treated by others.
This is AGREEING WITH JESUS, and how He would treat your emotions.
ACCEPTANCE IS KEY all the way through the process of grieving, not just it’s end goal.
THE ONLY WAY THROUGH GRIEF ……… IS TO GRIEVE.
~ by Janet Robinson