Today wasn’t a good day for me. In fact, every day of this year isn’t a good for me. But I’ve learnt the importance of allowing yourself to grieve, simply because if pain isn’t dealt with and felt, it begets more of itself.
We fear pain on the basis that dealing with it will be painful. What we fail to recognize is that ignoring pain ends up often being more painful. That which isn’t confronted as it pops up only grows in severity. If you break your leg but ignore it and keep running, the leg is going to get worse. Some people refuse to deal with pain to the point where they feel they need drugs or hatred or anger to serve as a steam-valve. The depths of these cycles can feel endless, and those who’ve indulged in them for too long often feel trapped. This is a common addict mentality — there’s simply too much built-up unaddressed pain to cope with. When people feel helpless, they disenfranchise themselves.
This brings me back to the pain of grief. When people grieve, they either let themselves feel their feelings fully or they bury them away. Most of us mix these two paths to varying degrees. What’s important is to have a bit of self-love. When you lose someone to something like addiction or suicide, the first defense is often against yourself. You try to relate to the situation by pinning partial responsibility on yourself. This is an honest impulse but it doesn’t solve the problem.
The way to approach grief is through the process of self-love. We love people because they allow us to love them and encourage us to love ourselves. When they die or leave, we feel the absence, often in a deeply painful way. This convinces us that we are to blame, that we are misfortunate. While the experience itself is terrible, punishing yourself for misfortune does nothing but perpetuate further negative energy. It’s one thing to experience grief and allow it to wash over you, even if it batters you against the rocks and the shore and causes you pain. It’s another to swim into it until it pulls you into the depths of the ocean and you drown. When the world serves you misfortune, the intelligent response is to deal with it then and there to the best of your ability and try not to create further misfortune for yourself. To indulge in negativity is to go against nature.
Part of this comes from self-control. It’s important to recognize when you are letting yourself experience something versus when you are indulging in dwelling on it. If grief becomes too comfortable and regular, it becomes a habit. This habit can cause you to persecute yourself and cultivate a pattern of self-hatred that further pushes you into the abyss. Sometimes grief serves as a conduit for other pains of life, like attachment and insecurity. People end up relying on grief as an outlet for other painful thoughts they don’t want to deal with.