Dear Why Team member,
Why Feel? To Be Real.
Has anyone ever encouraged you to be sad? No? Not surprising since sadness is not a pleasant emotion to feel. I do encourage you, however, to allow your sadness to express itself once-in-a while.
The second night my mother was in hospice, my heart was particularly heavy. I had that feeling of not being enough for her, knowing if I had only tried harder, I could have spent more time with her- regrets so common in the imminent loss of a loved one.
She said, "Honey, no matter how much time you would have spent with me, you would feel the same. I felt the same when I was sitting in your chair."
I said, "The depth of our sorrow is the measure of our love, isn't it?
It's experienced in contrast.”
“Yes,” she said, “but Honey, you just want to hold on to the happiness you have known, there is so much happiness you have yet to know, happiness in your future. You’ll get to see your children grow up, graduate, marry and have their own children."
I have replayed her wisdom in my mind countless times since her passing on May 4th, 2016. She continues to love and encourage me, and no doubt will do so all of my days.
Many years ago, I had a teacher tell me that the fullness of my life would come from my willingness to be open to my feelings. If I limited my sorrow, I would limit my joy, if I limited my sadness, I would limit my happiness.
Most people today have come to see sadness as something wrong, more specifically something wrong with them. Our sadness can make others uncomfortable, prompting them often to try and help us out of our sadness, maybe even fix what they perceive as broken. We can often receive a litany of instructions on how to get out and avoid all future sadness. Pixar’s movie, "Inside Out," is a beautiful representation of how we treat some of our emotions as good and others as bad. When watching the movie with my children, I too saw the character named Sadness, appropriately colored blue, as a detriment to happiness, as a constant force to try and avoid, manage and push away. How awesome to find that the real heroine in the story was in fact Sadness; Sadness who needed to be felt.
Nothing honors my mother more, I believe, than the tears of sadness I shed when missing her. And then, I often find the joy of memories and appreciation for having her as my mother take higher flight. We embrace and we reject certain parts of ourselves, judging certain emotions as good or bad. How much more fully may we experience life if we were to spend more time connecting with those emotions rather than correcting them? These days I find myself, allowing myself to feel so much more than I have in the past, and it has allowed me to experience so much more of what life has to offer in each new given day.
Experience your emotions, learn what they have to teach you. Don't find your identity in emotions, but rather in the person who feels and observes their comings and goings and is experiencing a life more abundant for doing so.
Be more loving and patient with yourself, feeling sad does not mean that you yourself are a sad person. Do not say, "I am sad," but rather, "I am experiencing sadness." This small but important shift in how you speak to yourself may be the very key to unlocking a life filled with more feeling, compassion and empathy for yourself and for others.
Consider the importance of being real and not just doing more. In fact, being more real may be the most empowering thing you could do.
Allow your emotions to come and to go. As the saying goes, "It came to pass," not, "it came to stay."
Feel, be real, and experience a life more abundant, for you and for others.
Make it a great week,