“Release the need to know why that thing happened. Because you know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is reclaiming the fire it will take to rebuild your energy again. And what matters is rediscovering the ridiculous amount of beauty right here, and right now straight into the pulsing, tangible, gloriously sweet center of this and only this present moment. What matters is now. Not then.” ~ Victoria Erickson

It’s okay to be afraid; it means you are about to do something very brave.  You are going to feel your pain, hurt and suffering but you aren’t going to let those feelings consume you!  We all need to work through the feelings, no matter how difficult. Feeling is the means by which you know why and how much things and people mattered to you.

You miss someone who is no longer here. This happens with any loss, but is especially difficult when people are taken from us in some unexpected or traumatic way.  This may happen not only with a death, but also divorce, breakup or other life altering event.  Your heart feels broken, no–tattered and torn, being stretched across the chasm that now separates you. Whether spouses, partners, family member or friend–the two of you had hopes and dreams for the future and now you may feel simply alone in the world or even betrayed or rejected.

You may feel some sense of guilt which then turns into hopelessness, depression, self-harm, or substance abuse. This guilt, if ignored, can drive wedges into relationships with family and friends, hinder recovery and lead to mental and physical health issues.  Living in guilt also provides a false sense of control. You may walk around thinking “If only I…”. Living this way causes one to avoid facing the reality of other emotions.

You may have regrets because you left things unsaid. You may be troubled because events were out of your control. As humans, we want to be in control and can fall into self-condemnation when we feel like we have failed.

A traumatic event can affect our faith and spiritual well-being. We may question where was God, why didn’t He stop this? Our anger may cause us to turn away from the comfort of our faith. We may forget (intentionally or unintentionally) that God has been walking with us through all of this. We manifest our anger inward and harden our hearts and souls.

It becomes too hard to feel; it hurts, it makes us sad, bitter, angry, lonely, isolated. So what do we often do?  Instead of finding ways to work through it in a healthy and supportive way (with friends, family, professional help, etc.), we may find ourselves turning to negative outlets to numb these emotions: food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.  Numbing is just that though: we hide behind the mask of something else and we continue to repress and bury the pain. If we don’t feel it, we don’t have to deal.  We have then made a choice to stop living our lives simply exist.

Human beings are meant To Be (heck it’s right there–“being”)!  We are not meant to live in the cold, dank cellar of darkness. We are not meant to live behind a mask or as a puppet letting other persons or things control us.  Being means to feel–happiness, sadness, joy, concern, elation, deflation, acceptance, rejection, friendship, solitude, strength, weakness, compassion, dislike, respect, disrespect, worth, unworthiness, forgiveness, the unforgiving, love and hatred.

The only way we can live In truth and authenticity is to allow ourselves to feel and experience ALL of the emotions, including the negative, hurtful ones. It’s only when we have experienced the lowest of lows, the darkest of nights and the pain of the deepest wounds, that we can truly rejoice in and be grateful for the joys, beauty, kindness, hopefulness, friendship, grace, mercy, light and love that are all around us and inside of us!

Feel it all: work through the negative, cry about it, scream about it, talk about it! Do not numb or mask the pain and hurt, heal it instead. Inspire others by showing both your strengths and vulnerabilities. It is here that we discover our truth. It is here that we rise up. It is here our wings emerge and take flight to new heights.

Yes, they are gone and you are still here. Don’t consider yourself simply left behind or discarded.  Instead, make it your purpose to be amazing, to help the next person suddenly suffering, to stand up and be seen, to be happy, to explore those hidden dreams and goals or to make new ones. Live your life with a renewed sense of self-worth. Most importantly, know that you are never alone in your journey. Simply because one person is gone, doesn’t mean you will walk your journey alone. Know it’s okay to reach out for help from family, a friend or professional. There is no shame in stating that you need help.

Once you declare this, neither shame nor guilt can own you and you are on the right path to healing.