We cannot heal what we cannot feel

When you are grieving for someone or something it is tempting to distract yourself from the pain you are feeling. Unfortunately, life has the unfortunate habit of not stopping because things are bad for you. So, to manage, you push the feelings aside and keep going. But is this healthy?

Pushing the feelings aside is fine for some of the time. You do need to attend to daily life. That said, you do need to allow yourself time as well to sit with the pain and the other feelings associated with your loss. If you don’t allow yourself to feel the feelings, you cannot ‘heal’.

What is healing? Healing is not forgetting. Healing is learning to live with the pain and other feelings of what you have lost. There will always be pain there, but with healing the pain will be more manageable. There will be more acceptance of the pain and of what you have lost. Acceptance does not mean you are happy with what has happened. It just means you are able to accept what has happened and accept the feelings around it.

Allowing yourself to feel your feelings, especially at first when everything is so raw, is not an easy thing to do. You may find sitting with your feelings involves crying, feeling unable to do anything, isolating yourself or feeling isolated. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself bad days. Just remember to attend to your essential needs during that time. Give yourself permission to not feel okay. Give yourself permission to take time out. You have a duty to look after yourself. Obviously if you are caring for others, such as your children, you do need to attend to their needs. But once that is done be okay with attending to your needs. As a family you need to share your feelings with each other. As a parent you need to allow space to share your feelings that you can’t share with your children. You may find it helpful to see a counsellor to give you time for yourself to be able to talk, feel and fall apart in a safe space. You can also send your children for counselling, that be helpful for them to talk to someone who is more objective so can’t be upset by what they say.

If you are caring for others, then you need to be there for them too. Remember it is not possible to care for another person, if you don’t care for yourself. So attending to your needs is important.

Remember it is okay to have feelings of grief and loss. Don’t forget it takes a long time before those feelings becomes less raw. Be mindful of the fact that those feelings will not lose their rawness if you don’t allow yourself to feel them. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance from a grief counsellor.

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