I’ve been sitting with grief for a very long time.
I didn’t know it. I didn’t know what these emotions were deep inside of me. I just knew they were uncomfortable and I wanted to not feel them. So I suppressed them however I could.
Turns out that suppression of big feelings is remarkably easy when you’ve grown up in a family where your needs were an inconvenience to those around you (or when you find yourself constantly in friendships & romantic relationships with similar dynamics).
You learn to put the need of others first, and you begin to ignore your own emotions which are screaming to be acknowledged.
When you grow up in a religious culture in which your big emotions are seen as sin, suppression becomes second nature. Your grief over your own hurts and losses are seen as stubborn refusal to practice joy and gratitude. Your grief is seen as an obstacle to trusting in Jesus.
You learn to ignore your emotions when they cry out.
One of the best things I’ve ever done was learn to place boundaries so that I no longer have to manage the emotions of others; however, I have to admit that this is a skill that I am still learning.
I’ve learned to look inside of myself to see what emotions of mine need tending to.
That is where I found her.
Grief. She was sitting in a darkened corner, abandoned.
So I took her hand in mine and told her she wasn’t going to sit alone anymore. I would sit with her as long as it takes for her to feel accepted and validated.
Learning to prioritize my own emotions is, perhaps, the holiest and most rebellious work I’ve ever done. It’s a revolution against a world that tried to take my every resource and burn me to the ground.
It’s standing up and declaring that I matter.
My feelings matter.
I no longer have to sacrifice my own life to save others.