Good Grief

Nearly everyone I know is grieving. Some are grieving the loss of someone special, or the companionship of a beloved pet. Some are grieving the end of a marriage or career. When major life challenges arise, we expect that there will be grieving, and we allow that person the time they need to heal.

But it’s ok to grieve other things as well. Just because “no one died” doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel how you feel. If grief is defined as the response to loss, then all of these things “count” as well: illness that keeps you from doing something you want to do, car accidents, closing a show, property damage, not being able to help someone you’d like to help, not getting the role you were told you would get, fear for your child’s safety and well-being as they grow up and need you less, a relationship that isn’t going the way you’d hoped it would, or one that doesn’t get off the ground at all when you really though it would, a relationship with a person or job based on lies and fear, working hard for the promotion that you didn’t get, watching your parents age, not having the relationship with a family member that you deserve…I could go on and on. The point is, almost everyone I know is hurting. And, if I may, a large percentage of these people are not working on healing.

There are so many amazing things in life, and I speak and write about those frequently. However, there is so much crap, too. And we need to acknowledge the crap, to work through the crap, to get rid of the crap.


And working through it is so, so, difficult. It really hurts. And just when you think it’ll get better, it gets worse. But, it does get better. And then it can get worse again. And then good again.

You know that I am a huge advocate for talk therapy. I sincerely think that every single person would benefit from going. However, you may not have the insurance or funds to go to therapy. But that shouldn’t mean that you aren’t working toward mending yourself. If going to a therapist isn’t in the cards for you right now, here are some other options:

1) Carve out some time (daily, if possible) to free-write. Take ten minutes in the morning to just write whatever you’d like to write. I do this most mornings; my writing is hardly legible, and if anyone were to read it, they might cart me away. But who cares? It’s not for anyone else, it’s for me to get out all the poo before the day starts. Write about the things you are worried about, the things that piss you off, why life is so unfair, anything at all. Get the yuck out of you. (Shout out to Julia Cameron who suggests this exercise in “The Artist’s Way.)

2) Scream. Seriously. Depending on how thick your walls are, you may need to scream into a pillow, or wait until the neighbors aren’t home, but scream. Loudly. Often. Yes, I do this at home. I just tell Paul that I’m going to do it so I don’t freak him out. It feels so good to scream!

3) Find a person you trust and ask if you can have 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to just vent. If they think that that is an odd request, then that isn’t your person and you need to look for someone else. Just talk it out. Say all of the stuff that’s in your brain and heart and don’t worry if it’s nice or not. Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings, just get it out.

Only when the crap gets out of you are you able to really make any sense of it at all. And, eventually, with enough work, you will find some peace. Please notice I didn’t say that you are guaranteed to find answers or even acceptance, but you will find some peace within you to move forward, ever so slightly.

I know that these ideas may seem silly to some, but who cares? You NEED to get this crap out of you. And you will need to do it over and over again, and that’s perfectly fine. IT IS GOOD FOR YOU TO DO THIS. (I’m sorry that I’m yelling but I really feel PASSIONATE about this!) It is GOOD to feel how you feel, even when it is painful. Please do not deny yourself any longer by pretending you are “fine” when you are not, by pretending you aren’t hurt when you are, by lying to yourself and other people. When we continually do this to ourselves it slowly kills us and the people around us.

You are worth feeling better. You deserve happiness. You deserve pure JOY.

I’m not suggesting that every day be rainbows and unicorns, because that isn’t realistic. Besides, life would be boring if everything was wonderful all of the time. However, things don’t have to be as awful as they are, either. But we have to work through the crap first.
When you bring your yuck and anger and hate and frustration and complaining into the world day after day, year after year, and you haven’t even attempted to heal yourself…that takes a toll on not only yourself, but on all of us.

Please be good to yourself and the rest of humanity by taking the time to grieve all that is hurting you. If there are a mountain of things that are hurting, start small. There are people to help you. There are so many resources out there, and I am happy to help point you in the right direction if that is something you need.

You are goodness, and you deserve goodness.

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