There has been a lot of stress, sadness, loss, and tragedy around me in the last few months. It has been a hard year for many people, not only all over the world, but in my own communities. I really struggle with how to support others during tough times, because I would do anything for them but often times there is nothing you can do.
Sometimes there is a feeling in our society and our culture that you have to be happy all the time, and keep a smile on your face even when times are tough. While I believe in the power of positive thinking as much as anyone, and believe that you get to choose happiness, it is important to acknowledge your emotions. It is normal to be sad, stressed, to grieve, to feel what you are feeling. It is normal and it is important. Be with those emotions – allow yourself time to feel them. Do not say you are fine if you’re not. It is okay to not be fine sometimes. There are so many people who want to support you, and who will support you, so let them do that. Only by acknowledging and sitting with your emotions can you come to terms with them, find peace in them, and start the recovery process.
If you broke your arm, and it hurt, would you walk around telling people it didn’t hurt and try to use it? No. A doctor will put it in a cast, you will rest it and protect it while it heals, and then build up using it gradually so you can regain your strength. The same goes for your emotions. You may have a broken heart, a broken spirit, so give it time to recover. Protect it. Use it sparingly and with grace and care. And as you take that cast off, build yourself up so you slowly but surely regain your strength.
You are strong, and you will be strong, but you don’t have to be in every single moment. It takes time to build and maintain strength, so give yourself that time, and let yourself rest and recover. You are important. Your feelings are valid. Treat yourself how you would treat anyone else going through a tough time.