In the land of Facebook where, for the most part, everything is seen as “light, happy, and all is well in the world”, admitting any kind of sadness or depression feels like failure. So instead, we mask it, deny it, push it away, or pull ourselves up from our bootstraps, and move on.
Only we don’t. We feel separate, misunderstood, and alone.
Because we are denying a part of our very selves. Anything we look at as ugly within us will never have a chance to experience Love.
But at the base of everything is only love.
Know this. There is nothing wrong, bad, or needing to be fixed within you.
Sadness and depression are tugging at your sleeve, trying to get your attention. They want what any sad or grieving (which is what depression often is) person would want. They want to be nurtured and cared for. They want to have someone rub their head and pour them a cup a tea. They want to hear the soothing words, “You’ll be okay.”
If we could, for just a moment, become that kind of loving mentor to our uncomfortable emotions, we would discover something amazing.
The emotions are not us, but they are here to tell us something about us. And if instead of identifying only with the fearful, sad, angry, frustrated, or bored emotion, we take the role of loving mentor, we could learn a lot about ourselves.
We would start to understand the fears, the thoughts, the sensations, the beliefs that take place when something arises inside of us or our world. And once we “see” what it is we do, we understand how better to love and care for ourselves.
But first, we must be brave enough to allow the emotion to be there, to watch it, and to listen.
This last week, I struggled with an unexplained sadness that left my heart a stone in my stomach. Naturally, I tried to figure out where the sadness was coming from, but to no avail. I couldn’t pinpoint it to anything in my present-day circumstances. To my analytical mind, this was extremely frustrating.
But my heart told me, “Something in me is grieving. Let it be and love yourself through it.” Okay, fair enough.
I didn’t even understand what exactly I was grieving, but when unexplained sadness or depression strikes, it needs someone to hold it, not scold it.
Once I accepted the sadness as my companion, I engaged in activities to make it feel safe. I arranged quiet times on my porch, rescheduled appointments, and rented a movie while curled up in a blanket and let her know it would be okay.
A week later, I woke up in the middle of the night, felt the heaviness, and gave myself permission to feel this fully. (Of course, being the middle of the night, there was not much else demanding my attention).
The relief was immediate. Slowly, strong, empowering words came to my mind. Something from the past had been grieving and something was taking it place in order to move on. A new, confident energy came in as I repeated the words.
What makes this difficult is giving ourselves permission to fully feel our emotions for fear we will get stuck if we do. But the exact opposite is true. We get stuck if we don’t.
Feeling our feelings, and lovingly offering our understanding and support, as we would to a friend, is what allows the process to complete itself. Once the grieving lifts (and to every darkness, there is a dawn), it is replaced by Love and clarity. Because love is underneath everything.
A Course of Love reminds us, “You realize that you have no feelings that are bad. You embrace sadness, grief, anger, and all else that you feel because these feelings are part of who you are in the present moment…The reintegration is the process through which you discover the proof, proof of the benevolence of your feelings and of the benevolence of the universe itself.”
When unexplained sadness or grief hit:
- Listen to what feels good and gentle. Do that.
- Expect less from yourself. Trust there’s a purpose behind it.
- Reassure the emotion from the position of the loving mentor.
- Be patient. Timing is not up to you. Know this too shall pass and love will return again – on a deeper level.
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