This week has been very sad for me as we’ve had to put our very elderly dog down.
I’m not a dog person.
Freya our dog was my husband’s passion, but over the years I’d come to cope with the mess, the mud, the smell and the restrictions she’d placed on our lives in various ways (and there were still many times, I resented it all!). I still disliked dogs, but loved Freya (if that makes sense!). But this week, has taken me by surprise. I’d expected to feel relief. Instead I’ve felt so sad and the depth of pain has shocked me.
I’m not afraid of the pain.
I know it comes from my thoughts of my sadness, of not having her in my life anymore. All of this feels appropriate and right. There’s no way I want to positively think my way out of it. No reframe I want to impose. Feeling that pain is part of losing an animal I loved.
Yesterday, I allowed myself to sob and shed tears (a lot of them). The pain passed, I felt lighter and then had a thought about making a cup of tea. I drank the tea, felt better and went to pick up my daughter from school. We cried (again) and laughed thinking of funny memories with dear Freya and then something else again came through.
So making sense of it all this morning, this is what I see and thankfully these are three happy truths which have helped me deal with the sadness. .
1. We’re very poor at predicting our future feelings in this case my expected relief versus the sadness reality. I spent years worrying about how I was going to feel if this event happened, or that crisis occurred. Very rarely did the problems I was anticipating come crashing into my life and if they had, well, this was a wonderful example for me of how we’re so rubbish at knowing how we’re going to feel anyway.So many times we predict we’re going to feel sad (or any other emotion for that matter) so it makes far more sense to sit with any emotion when it comes rather than work out a strategy for dealing with it in advance.
2. Any emotion once felt, doesn’t seem to stick along too long. Feel it, let it go, feel the next one, let that go too is my new mantra.I’m following the example of any three year old child.This one is key as the ultimate pain comes in resisting and holding an emotion back. Go with whatever comes (the next point may help).
3,These feelings can’t hurt us – they’re part of being human and if someone could magically wave a wand over you, would you ever truly want to rid yourself of emotions?
Before my discovery of the three principles or the inside out approach, I’d have been so afraid of those feelings and their power. Now, I feel them but am less inclined to label them good or bad. Yes there are still more comfortable feelings, less comfortable ones but I’m aware how amazing it is to have the awareness to feel any of it. Here we are, living our day to day lives and we all have a vast hoard of emotions coming in and out. So far this morning, I’ve felt sadness, impatience, enjoyment, love, gratitude, irritation, stress, boredom, excitement - and that’s all before lunch!
Emotions move in and out, I don’t need to analyse them, they’re my life and there’s space in my mind and heart to experience it all, even the sadness and the loss. If I truly want to live fully, I know I have to feel whatever comes, step into it, let go of the fear, experience it all and I’m so willing to do that now because I know that these three happy truths are going to help me deal with sadness or any other emotion.
How about you?
Sleep well, dear Freya
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