Getting Over It...

>> Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It hurts. It’s supposed to hurt.

People talk about “Getting over it” or “Moving on”, but I think those are simplifications of something that it is incredibly difficult to express. I haven’t gotten over the death of my Mom or Dad. I certainly haven’t moved on from Cassie’s premature birth and traumatic first few months. I’m positive I’m never going to let go of my guilt or worry over her future. It’s not going to happen and I really don’t think I want it to.

The pain, anger, sadness and other emotions that I feel over those things are part of who I am and I really love who I am, warts and all. I don’t need to get over missing my parents, or other events in my life any more than I would need to put aside the joy I find in my husband, my children, or any of the other things that bring me happiness. They are my feelings and I am entitled to them. When I feel that they are overwhelming me, I let myself experience them. I stopped fighting them a long time ago and gave myself permission to feel them, to own them, and in the process to help find them a place in the fullness of my life. Whose rule is it that my sadness and anger are any less welcome or valid than my joy or happiness?

I know that convention assigns some emotions the role of bad and some good – but do we ever ask ourselves why? My anger has a purpose. It can motivate me and spur positive action. My sadness has a function. It serves as release and a way to honor the people or things that are important to me.

Too much of anything, even happiness and joy can be detrimental to our psyche. So why the tendency to get lost in sadness or burnt out by anger? It’s different for each individual and there are certainly chemical and physical issues that contribute to the equation, but I think that one reason is that with happiness and the other “positive” emotions we experience them fully. We let them in. We encourage them and we use them up until the experience is fulfilled. Sadness and the like we run from. We hide. We do anything within our power and go to extreme lengths to avoid them. Rather than embracing them for the gift that they can be, we push them away. In doing so we never let them run their course and we never complete them. If they are never consumed, and always unfinished, we are always at their mercy.

So when the lyrics on the radio sing of a man holding his wife’s hand as her heart beats its last and my thoughts stray to my wish that I had been there to hold my mother’s, I’ll cry. I’ll cry at my desk and ask the person who comes over to ask me a question to give me a few minutes. I’ll cry because I have a right to and I NEED to and when it passes I will feel spent but complete.

When I need to be somewhere to help someone I love who needs me and just driving to the place where they are brings about an anxiety attack and some raging PTSD I will stop and let it roll through me. I will rage, and choke and sputter and then breathe through it and try to hear what it is trying to teach me. Is it too soon? Is something unfinished that I need to deal with? I’m still working my way through that one but I have to say that I’m glad I felt it and I’m glad I kept going. I think my purpose that night is going to be part of the solution.

Maybe there’s something wrong with me but I really feel like those “bad” emotions are beneficial to me and help me to be the person I’m meant to be. Am I alone in that or does anyone else feel that way too? How do you deal with those “negative” emotions?


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