Several years ago, I got into a car accident. It was jarring and scary, but amazingly I wasn’t injured, with the exception of some residual back pain. I thought it’d be an easy fix, and started seeing an acupuncturist. The acupuncturist led me to my future mentor, Dr. Coletta Long, a pioneer in the field of regression—the study of past experiences that can affect our present selves. And though I’d originally sought help for a little back pain following my accident, through working with Dr. Long, I discovered that the hurt I was carrying with me was actually much deeper.
My father had passed away very suddenly ten years prior. Even though he’d been sick, his death was completely unexpected. We’d been told he had a high probability of recovering, and I believed it. When he didn’t, I was so shocked I didn’t even know how to process it, how to grieve. I remember it was Valentine’s Day my freshman year of college when we got the news. Instead of breaking down, I kept going through the motions, pushing myself to pretend everything was alright and to not feel sad, because anything felt better than accepting that he was gone.
So it was ten years later after the car accident brought the pain I’d held inside me for a decade to the forefront, that I finally accepted that I’d never come to terms with it.
This is the hardest part of the process: realizing that we need to grieve. For many of us, it’s easier just to move onto the next thing, the next distraction, rather than allowing ourselves to feel pain.
For me, grieving meant allowing myself to feel sad, and once I realized that was necessary, it was much easier to get to a point of acceptance. Dr. Long worked me through Emotional Release Techniques. When we store emotional pain, it can manifest itself physically—we feel exhausted, depressed, or our muscles and joints physically ache. Every time anything triggered the trauma I’d experienced losing my father, I was once again lost in the pain.
Through Emotional Release Techniques—which can involve everything from meditation to release past traumas to habitually turning negative thoughts into positive ones—I uncovered my emotional scars. With the help of Dr. Long, I accepted my sadness. Though confronting the tragedy that had been so defining in my life wasn’t easy, knowing that I had the tools to move through it the pain, rather than ignoring it, was empowering.
For some, the acceptance process starts by just asking to feel something. Some can only manage to say they feel tired, and from there they can work down to the core emotion—the underlying psychological effect that’s making them feel tired or any other kind of physical pain. In the fast-paced world we live in, it isn’t always easy to recognize that the reason we’re always tired or stressed or anxious is because of something deeper than what’s immediately in front of us, but only by coming to terms with it can we begin to heal.
Allowing ourselves to grieve is a lot like allowing ourselves to rest. @RobinEmmerich (Click to Tweet!)
We can power through with enough adrenaline and coffee for a long time, but if we ignore our need to rest for long enough, there are both mental and physical consequences.
And just like resting, with grieving we need to both recognize the need for it and to—most importantly—allow ourselves to take part in it.
Do you feel like something is weighing you down? Are you tired all the time, or overwhelmed? Maybe it’s time to stop, to sit quietly, and to truly consider if your exhaustion isn’t just physical. Talk it over with a friend or trusted professional; think through the times when you feel your saddest. Do you see a pattern there? No one wants to experience grief, but sometimes it’s the healthiest thing we can do. And it’s only through properly grieving—and thereby releasing that emotion—that we can once again open ourselves up to joy.
Robin Emmerich has spent close to a decade coaching some of the most successful women in business. Even with their considerable success, the common denominator is that as much as they seemed to be cruising through life on the outside, they were melting on the inside. It’s why Robin just launched Beauty and the Mess—an athleisure brand creating a sisterhood who understands that life is messy and difficult and challenging, but together, can find the strength to prioritize passion over perfection and fearlessly seek beauty in their everyday lives. She currently offers the CIJourney online course, based on the famed Stanford Masters Degree Course, ‘Creativity in Business,’ individual coaching and worldwide retreats. Connect with Robin at robinemmerich.com on Instagram, or beautyandthemess.com.
Image courtesy of dima_goroziya.