Saturday was a difficult day. We said goodbye to our dog of 13 years, Jasmine. She had cancer and it got bad really quickly. I gave her Reiki throughout the process, and it was beautiful to be able to support her and help her be at peace through her transition.
The sadness and emptiness we feel since Jasmine is no longer with us is understandable. After all, she was part of the family for the last 13 years.
There have been other times in my life where I’ve dealt with sadness and grief. Having learned something from those past experiences, this time I made sure to be a participant and an observant at the same time and be intentional with how I’m dealing with the emotional pain. First, I allowed myself to be sad and to feel the pain.
Why is it important to feel the pain?
I’ve suffered from vertigo twice in the last 10 years. The first time was when my son, our oldest child, left for college. Looking back, I suppressed my sadness, tried to wear an “all is ok” mask, and kept myself overbusy so I wouldn’t feel the pain. The second time was when a dear friend passed, and once again, I escaped to overdoing so I wouldn’t feel the pain. In both cases, the vertigo was a physical manifestation of my suppressed pain.?Pain is meant to be felt. Suppressing it does not mean it isn’t there.
How do you manage emotional pain so it doesn’t affect your health?
Dealing with emotional pain in a healthy way starts with awareness. When you go through an emotional roller coaster, pause, observe, and be aware of your emotions. Be aware of unhealthy ways you deal with these emotions–what type of armor do you put on that prevents you from feeling??What unhealthy things do you do to suppress the pain?
Dealing with emotional pain in a healthy way is not possible when your automatic reaction is to suppress the pain. Awareness helps you to pause, evaluate, and make a conscious choice to feel the pain, and then when it’s time, you release it.
In the days following our goodbye to Jasmine, I made the following choices that were the most supportive and loving to myself:
I took some time to be alone and reflect.
I spent time with family members.
I shared the news only with close friends who knew and loved Jasmine.
I respected my desire for privacy and did not share the news on FB (sharing it now comes from a different place. It comes from a desire to share my growth and learning that followed my experience so I can help others).
I rested and took walks in nature, and I checked in with my inner-self periodically to see how I can best nurture my body, heart, and soul.
I took care of ME.
When it was time to shift from sadness to peace, I focused on gratitude to help me make the shift, feeling grateful for the wonderful times we had together. And I reminded myself that Jasmine is no longer suffering.
There was something else I did that was really important, and I want to share it with you.
The secret to dealing with emotional pain in a healthy way?
A few days before sending Jasmine on her new journey, I had a conversation with a coaching client who left her daughter in her new dorm at college and traveled back home. We were talking about the opportunity she has to allow herself to experience different emotions at the same time: sadness and joy, fear?and freedom.
Every difficult experience we go through in life is an opportunity for growth.
The secret to dealing with negative emotions in a healthy way is by owning, feeling, and expressing the emotions and giving ourselves permission to feel happy, grateful, and free at the same time.?
We have a choice to hold on to the pain for a long time or to stop suffering. We can choose to create a dance between feeling sad and feeling happy, and to live in peace together, until the sadness is released and we feel better.
It’s OK to feel pain and difficult emotions. It is part of life, and can even be a healthy part of life, if you learn to deal with emotions in healthy ways.
I?d love to hear your experience in the comments area!