There are times in life when things fall apart, when we lose someone or something deeply important that made us feel connected, grounded, or safe. Sometimes many things fall apart at the same time, and it feels like our foundation has been lost, and we are bereft of security.
She was now a 50-something single woman with the sense that nothing in life could be counted on. If this rupture could happen when her intentions had been good, with someone she loved deeply and had been honest with, then the world was surely an unsafe place. She felt untethered and terrified—as if she were floating in a space capsule that had lost touch with its earthly command center.
And she had no idea how to move forward.
Embracing the UnknownWhen we experience great loss or emotional trauma, we usually don't know what to do or how to make it better—what the path to better will look like, and how it will come about.
In addition to allowing ourselves to feel the sadness, helplessness, and fear that loss brings, it is also profoundly important to allow ourselves to feel what it's like to have no answers.
For us Type A's, and even Type B's and C's, the feeling of not knowing can be scary. And yet, giving ourselves permission to not know is a profound gift to ourselves and an act of deep self-care. Sometimes this alone can ease the suffering and take care of our pain, without us having to do anything else.
Suffering, as awful as it feels, is our teacher. But it can only teach us if we allow it to be felt. Sadness, fear, not knowing—all the difficult emotions—change who we are. Ironically, this is what we are trying to accomplish when we run around frantically trying to fix our painful feelings.
When we allow our real feelings to be there, as they are, we offer ourselves a warm embrace and the kindness of our own compassionate presence. We agree to be with ourselves, and keep ourselves company in our true experience.
It is contrary to how we are conditioned to respond to suffering in modern culture, but this simple act of emotional honesty extremely helpful in healing and generating change.
When we allow ourselves to feel how we feel, we find the company of our own presence, which will always ease our suffering.