ImageWe lost our beloved dog Gus this week. Suddenly and unexpectedly he was gone. The shock was immense. And then the grief set in. You know, that raw pain, that deep wrenching ache that nothing can stem,the guilt that maybe if we’d been with him we could have done something. I cried for days. It’s like losing a member of the family isn’t it.

I’ve been around emotional work long enough to know I just had to feel it, to let it move through me. And I knew I had to help my kids do the same. Many people don’t realise that when we resist our feelings or worse still bury or repress them, it just makes them worse. And sometimes they can get ‘stuck’ and plague us years later, even after we’ve forgotten why they were there in the first place. There’s a universal law, that what we resist persists. So by the third day, I found I could begin to step back and observe the pain.  I noticed the pain in my throat, my chest, my stomach. I gave myself permission to just notice it and feel its depth. It didn’t hurt any less, but I knew that it would speed up the healing. Well meaning friends of course told me I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I did, simple as that. And I knew I had to accept my feelings and really feel them. Not judge myself, just feel them. To try and make myself not feel something would only make it worse.

I wonder, have you ever tried to make yourself not feel something, or instead try to feel something you don’t? It’s not so easy is it. Feelings are what they are. They come from somewhere deeper inside that’s not under our conscious control. It’s like they’re automatic. Many people don’t realise that one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to allow ourselves to feel what we feel for as long as we need to. And it’s a gift to be able to do this for others…