Actually feeling feelings

April 27, 2017

feelingsThat’s the funny thing about feelings.
We think if we push them down hard enough, they’ll disappear.
Dr. Charles/ChicagoMed

NBC’s  Chicago Med is a different brand of hospital drama. Along with medication, lots of wisdom is dispensed, usually in the voice of psychiatrist Dr. Charles, an expert in feelings.

Watching the show the other week, I heard him make that very sage observation about feelings and immediately thought of grief. Of how many folks seem to be uncomfortable with the emotion of grief and even more uncomfortable if it lasts more than a couple of months.

How many times have we heard “she should be over it by now”–usually said by someone who is uncomfortable with feelings, referring to grief another feels over a loved one who has died.

Get over it? It’s just not that simple.

Grief is a sign that we’ve loved deeply and that we miss that tangible aspects of that love.  We simply don’t “get over it.” We NEVER get over it.

The best we can hope for is that over time, active grieving dissipates. And it does. But grief never goes away. Even if we try to push those feelings down. To stuff them. To not feel them. Even then.

But it’s not healthy to stuff grief. It’s healthy to give it voice–both to ourselves and out loud to trusted friends and family. And there are other ways to let those feelings out, too.

Which is why I have developed three products for people who are grieving: a guided journal, affirmation cards and an audio with guided imagery through grief.


Feelings that come from feeling INTO grief are a healthy way to grieve.

Emotions heal when they are heard & validated

The guided imagery Coping with Grief audio HERE is my favorite of the products I offer. It’s a half hour experience in which the listener achieves a deep state of relaxation and then, has a conversation with their loved one.  A talk during which they can say anything they like, including anything they wish they’d said when their loved one was alive.

This beautiful exercise, which I’ve done myself several times, allows the listener to give voice to his or her emotions in a healthy and useful way. It can be used over and over, as many times as one likes. I’ve used it once for each of three loved ones who are now on the other side.

During the imagery, I fully felt my love for them and my grief at their loss. I said what I needed to say, cried many tears and experienced a beautiful release. My grief didn’t disappear–but the exercise in the audio recording provided a focal point for it: a focal point that allowed me to feel the emotions fully.

The objective is to find an outlet for our grief, to validate it ourselves and over time, to allow it to transform. I’ll do the exercise again and again, whenever I feel I have more to say to my loved ones.

If you’d like to learn more about the audio, the Guided Journal Through Grief and the Releasing Grief Affirmation Cards, visit the Grief tab at A Healing Spirit, HERE. Feel free to explore everything on offer.



62 comments on “Actually feeling feelings
  1. Sandy KS says:

    Right, now my family could use some healing. I am told I am in the denial/angry stage. All I know is I am tired and want the tears to stop.

  2. Robin rue says:

    My mom passed in February and I am still in that place where it all just feels like a bad dream. It’s not easy.

  3. Elena says:

    It is so difficult to feel some feelings. I have been through grief and I think that during those difficult times everyone needs someone to make them talk about their feelings. That way you pass the stage of denial and start to accept the things the way they are!

  4. Jess C says:

    My husband’s auntie, who we were very close with, died a week ago… It’s a really terrible time, and no-one has the right to tell us when we should ‘move on and get over it.’

  5. Catherine Sargent says:

    Grief is something that everyone handles differently. I think the guided journal, affirmation cards and an audio with guided imagery through grief is a great idea and would be a wonderful resource.

  6. This is something so many of us have problems with. Grief is a painful thing. So we stuff it down as far as possible until it starts to eat at us.

  7. Nora says:

    Beautiful said, Carol. I feel the painful our neighbors who recently lost their son.

  8. Megan says:

    I never allow someone to say “They should be over it by now” in front of me. It’s so insensitive. The quote about healing when emotions are heard and validated is very true.

  9. This is such a great post. I agree, you have to actually feel your feelings. You can’t hide from them.

  10. Jen Rattie says:

    Everyone should read this. You can’t just bottle up your feelings and hope they go away. You have to face them head on.

  11. Amber Myers says:

    Sometimes a person might never get over something. They can move on with their lives, but their grief is still there. And that’s okay.

  12. Liz Mays says:

    Your guided imagery audio sounds like it would be really helpful. I do think that people tend to hold these emotions in a lot of the time.

  13. I love this post. I lost my son almost 11 years ago and my grief was all consuming. Still now, a decade later, I feel so much sadness and pain, but I work hard to share my story and raise awareness, and I love to see others doing the same. thank you.

  14. Lisa says:

    Grief and loss is such a sad, but unavoidable part of life. I think it is important to grieve of course for your loss, but what really has been lost when someone passes is their life. That should be at the centre of the grief, i believe.

  15. Pam Wattenbarger says:

    Grief is so hard to work through. It definitely takes time to heal and it’s not a linear process.

  16. Christine says:

    I think it is true when they say that you can’t hold your feelings in. I usually feel like I am going to explode if I really just need to cry or scream, or even if I am just beyond happy for some reason!

  17. Ali Rost says:

    Wonderful post. Grief is one of the hardest things ever to deal with. Especially if we pretend it doesn’t exist and bury it with denial or any of the other ways we self-medicate. Day by day it does get better.

  18. I’ve have experience the lost of my grandfather and never talked to anyone about it. It does take time to heal but I wish I had someone to talk to!

  19. Ashlea says:

    I know everyone tells my uncle that he needs to get over it. My cousin committed suicide back in 2012. The anniversary is coming up right before mothers day weekend. It is such a thought time for him and the family.

  20. stacey says:

    I experienced this. My dad was diagnosed with cancer last yea and my husband, who is generally a very sympathetic person, was not. I ended up comforting him than I’d expected. It was a little disheartening adn unexpected. Thankfully my father is among the cancer survivors.

  21. Cacinda says:

    I think it is so important that you have created these products! They sound very helpful for dealing with grief!

  22. Kelly says:

    You are so right when you say you don’t just ‘get over’ grief. It’s so challenging to deal with and never seems to be something that completely goes away, though I love that your products help to make it more manageable!

  23. Theresa says:

    Grief is a really difficult emotion to work through. You are right, it never truly goes away. We should be able to openly express our grief and not have to shove it aside because it makes others uncomfortable.

  24. stef says:

    I love journaling. I have to say it is one of the most therapeutic thing I do when struggling through issues in my life.

  25. kelly reci says:

    sad but true post! i love reading articles from you, they are all interesting to read and everything is very touching!

  26. I think the grieving process is important. And we shouldn’t require someone to go through it the way we go through it. My only difficulty with it is when by grieving we neglect other important things and people in our life.

  27. Paris (My Big Fat Happy Life) says:

    Grief is so hard and painful. It does get better but in its own time. Thank you for the resources.

  28. I have a friend who can use these right now. She is currently grieving over the loss of her mother. 🙁

  29. Grieving is definitely not to be underestimated, it’s important to surround yourself with positive energy and remember that it’s ok to cry

  30. Ravi says:

    One thing that can ease out emotional pain is Meditation. Try it.

  31. Neha Saini says:

    Grief is one of the hardest things ever to deal with. Thank you for the resources.They sound very helpful for dealing with grief!

  32. This is very helpful.I know a friend who’s in this stage right now. Such a very helpful post.

  33. I love Dr. Charles. ❤️ Thank you for providing people with a way to channel grief into a healthy emotion. Negative emotions are not always unhealthy emotions.

  34. Natalie says:

    I am definitely one to suppress my feelings and keep them bottled up inside. Grief is one of the hardest things anyone can go through.

  35. Wendy Polisi says:

    Grief is a very difficult emotion to handle. You’re right, many people don’t know how to handle it and it often comes out in an unhealthy manner.

  36. angela milnes says:

    Such a great post and I love reading this article, I know you’re feeling right now and it takes the time to heal.

  37. There is a lot to understanding grief and the passing of a loved one. I have a more difficult time than some people I know, but I can always count on them to help me get through it.

  38. Missy Burson says:

    After losing my husband to cancer a week after being diagnosed I know that grief, especially after an unexpected death, can take a hold of you and keeps a tight grip for a very long time. Thank you for writing such an honest and helpful post.

  39. Elizabeth O. says:

    We all grieve differently and people shouldn’t judge you by how long you’ve been unable to let go and move on. It’s simple, we think differently and we feel differently as well. No one should have to go through that kind of judgement. I think these products are really going to help people out. Writing in a journal has always been helpful.

  40. The thing people on tje outside don’t understand is that you’ll get over it when you are over it. Short of your grief taking over your life, there’s no set time for someone to stop grieving.

  41. Grief, and other feelings including sadness, can be difficult to handle. Everyone deals with them in their own way and their own time.When I am depressed I sometimes eat, in an effort to stuff my feelings down.

  42. Amanda Love says:

    You can’t force people to be “over it” when you’re tired of seeing them grieve. Besides, I don’t think we can ever move on from it, we just learn how to live with the loss. This notebook sounds really lovely. I’m sure it will help people at a difficult time.

  43. Meghna says:

    Hugs and prayers for all those who are going through loss and grief. It’s tough.

  44. Andy Atsugah says:

    Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress-related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. I love this post!

  45. Laura H says:

    I think recording your feelings down in a journal is so so important but I’ve never seen one for grief before! This is a great idea and I’m sure it will aid many people as they try to move forwards.

  46. lex says:

    grief comes to different people in various wasya and it also goes away in various forms, we all are allowed to grief a loss or the other in any way we feel worthy, our emotions and feelings always differ so this is so different.

  47. Coralie says:

    It is so important to talk about our feelings. I always encourage my kids to say how they feel so we can talk about it and deal with it.

  48. DR says:

    I am forever one to avoid feelings. Loss, love, grief, envy, desire. They all fluctuate at random times and sometimes its exhausting the amount of time i spend avoiding them. But our right, you can’t properly heal from an emotional trauma without accepting its there. I have to face the good, bad and the ugly if im to get through the darkness.

  49. Grief is the hardest thing anyone has to go through be it grief for others or oneself. I think one should be allowed to grief and not be told to get over it. Agree it isn’t that simple.

  50. Your resources sound very helpful for those grieving or who need to express their grief. As you say grief never goes away, we learn how to live with it and still have a productive life.
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

  51. Our Family World says:

    One of the most painful emotions is grief. My father passed away 25 years ago and it still hurts. I still cry when I think about him. I have come to accept, but I cannot forget.

  52. Lindsey says:

    griefcertainly takes time to heal, but finding a positive outreach and loved ones certainly helps, especially those loved ones that you can talk to, to share your grief with.

  53. krystal says:

    The affirmation cards sound like a good companion to feel better everyday. It can be hard to get through these feelings.

  54. Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    I have first hand experience seeing how grief can destroy a person mentally and physically. It took my mom almost two years to accept that dad was gone. Me and my siblings never gave up and patiently “nursed” our mom back to health.

  55. Amy says:

    I think everyone deals with grief differenty. When my dad died it was a very hard time in my life. Some of my siblings kept things inside and others let it out in less than perfect ways.

  56. Jennifer L says:

    This is very true! So many times we try to just hide our feelings because we think by doing so we can just be positive and all will be well. But it’s not always the case. We don’t tackle the root of the issue.

  57. I think time heals wounds in the sense of that you get used to the new situation and adapt to it. But certain traumas need to be dealt with as they will not disappear by themselves. I usually try to deal with feelings rationally – though quite an oxymoron, it has helped me so far.

  58. Ana Ojha says:

    Sometimes it’s hard to move away from the grief but that’s the part of life! Time heals everything!

  59. This is a really good read about feelings and expressing yourself. I find it so important to always feel the way you feel and let people know. Most importantly your loved ones because they don’t want you to bottle up any bad feelings you have when you should be able to talk about them.

  60. adriana says:

    Unfortunately dealing with grief is something we all go through. I’m so glad you shared your story, everyone deals with it differently and it’s not something that has a right or wrong!

  61. Jennifer says:

    These all sound like great products. Feelings can be so hard to put out there.

  62. Nina says:

    These feelings will never quite go away, that is for sure. I lost my mother a year and a half ago, and I will always think of her. What helps me is to think about what she would want for my life. She would want me to continue doing what I love and doing what makes me happy. So that keeps me going.

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