emotions get a name

When we have hard conversations during grief we often get asked, “How are you?” There can be such a struggle when we are trying to answer that question. We feel guilty for putting our grief on others so we will just answer with a simple, “fine” and then continue on with our day. 

How different would life be if we were able to accurately label our emotions and then discuss them openly with those who are trying to support us?

What does it look and feel like for us to take an active role in our grief?

Talking about how we feel is a really great place to start, in Brene Brown’s book “Atlas of the Heart” she talks about the average American being able to identify only three emotions: happy, sad and mad. There is so much grief that we must feel through, our hope is that by giving you examples of different emotions you might be experiencing, it may be easier for you to process them. 

We invite you to explore each emotion that we go over. We ask that you spend time with each definition. We hope that by giving how you are feeling a name, you can process through it easier. We want you to think outside of the three most common emotions. We also hope that it will offer you some validation in what you are feeling. 

If we want to be an active participant in grief we must be able to verbalize what we are feeling deep inside. If we are not able to, we fall back to being an observer to our grief. If we are given the language to truly speak to what we are feeling then we have a stronger chance of grieving in a healthy way. 

Remember this is not all encompassing and not meant to diagnose or offer individual treatment. This month is intended to widen your vocabulary and your ability to process what you are feeling. We want to help you give what you are feeling a name.

When we do not process our emotions they can get stuck in our bodies, in particular, anguish because it does make us feel so powerless. We can crumple in on ourselves and stay there. If you feel like you have been stuck in anguish for some time, we encourage you to reach out to us for some resources or one on one counseling. If we live in a place of anguish for an extended period we can become closed off to many emotions, including happiness and joy. As humans we are resilient and we can reclaim our ability to breathe, think and feel as we did before our loss. It takes work, and you may never present the same again but you can move forward with hope.

We always want you to feel loved and supported as you take this journey.

We encourage you to come to a support group and engage with our community.

It can be in person or online if you aren’t comfortable quite yet. We want to be here for you. Check out our resources tab for additional resources and support group dates.

Almost every piece of research tells us that healthy grief begins with a strong support system. Imagine a world in which we honor that place in ourselves and others rather than hiding it, ignoring it, or pretending it doesn’t exist because of fear or shame.

What has been your experience with these emotions while you are grieving?

We would love to hear about your experience.

Please share your thoughts with us.

-The Retreat Bereavement Team

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