I'm not much of a public griever, and this post is not a call for sympathy nor a subtle request for help. But last week, I felt inauthentic not writing about what consumed my thoughts and dominated my emotions. On October 6th, my dad died.
Phew. That's hard to write.
My dad and I enjoyed a special closeness. My love for him fills my heart. It's been over a week, but the feelings are all right there on the surface, escaping as tears from my eyes and adding a somber undertone to my actions.
Over the weekend, a friend asked how I was doing. I told him I was depressed. As I was walking away, I thought, no, I'm not depressed, I'm in pain. As I renamed my feelings, I thought about that phrase: "in pain."
When I went through my coaching training, we learned that in order to develop more fully, we need to deeply experience all of the emotions. This was a strange concept to me, as I had always thought that it was better to put on a happy face and move forward without shedding tears or breaking down.
As I continue to learn about life and myself, I am opening to experiencing the joy and pain of life. And as I allow myself to be in pain, to really exist within the emotion, I can see that there is a richness that comes with it. I'm experiencing the deepest love and admiration for another person that I've ever felt. I'm feeling gratitude for how my dad's life has shaped, and will continue to shape me. I'm feeling the honor of carrying on his legacy.
When we can really feel all the feels, we have the opportunity to learn about ourselves in a new way. Being in the pain, rather than covering it up is a new experience for me. My dad held on to life long after he was able to enjoy it. Although I know it was hard for him, I'm grateful for it. His hanging on allowed me time to grow. Now I can have a much more meaningful connection with him as I process what it is to be a daughter without her dad.
So if you happen to see me walking down the street, feel free to express your condolences, but there's no need to feel sorry for me. I'm more full and alive than ever, and I know this is right where I need to be.
How Can Your Emotions Serve You?
What emotions do you need to feel in order to be fully alive? Are you able to truly feel joy? Are you able to be in pain? Can you embrace the feeling of uncertainty? As you go through your day, think about what emotions you're covering up. Consider whether it's time to take the lid off and really be in the emotion. Then feel what it is to really feel.