How Learning to Grieve Can Actually Make You Happier

Tears can be more therapeutic than we think...
Tears can be more therapeutic than we think…

“There’s only three more days left in February.” Hearing those words are like music to my ears. Why? Well, despite declaring 2014 the best year of my life, these first two months have been nothing but the complete opposite. And of the two months,  February has been hell on earth for me. Despite that, I kept marching to my upbeat tempo fully believing that things would turn around.

That upbeat March continued until Friday when my world came crashing down on me as I read an email that would shrink my ego as well as my hope for a better life. Despite my attempts of lifting my spirits, nothing worked – not my happiness jar or colorful umbrella, my tub of play doh, ebook, or happy post-it notes. Therefore, I did the only thing I could do at a moment where I was too weak physically and emotionally to find my ground. I cried. When simply crying didn’t work to make me feel better, I went to the only place where I felt like I could escape from the world – the shower. With the water temperature set on hell and the soap failing to wash away bruises I sat on the floor helpless and naked while I cried until it seemed as though I had no more tears.

Not even the tears mixed with warm shower droplets were enough to make me feel hopeful about my current situation. I wasn’t just  grieving my recent turmoils. I was also grieving my reaction. I asked myself, how could someone who makes a living writing about finding happiness, success and staying positive be reacting so adversely? How could I have given up hope when I’m constantly preaching to people that one of the most important things about life is to live it with hope? Realizing I was a fraud selling happiness to hundreds when I was a wreck belittled me even more. Rather than snap out of it, I did the only thing I could do. I cried some more and fit in  several sobs asking, “Why me?” Of course, I knew there was no amount of grieving that would suddenly erase the past and make me happier. Little did I know, I was far from the truth.

Despite being very private about my personal feelings, I somehow felt compelled to ask for warm thoughts and positive vibes on a forum I visit frequently. Without saying too much, I explained to the forum members I was having a rough month and had given up hope despite preaching the importance of always keeping hope alive to others. To my surprise, not one of them told me I was a fraud. Instead, they offered kind words and commended my ability to break down and grieve. Some even used many of the phrases I use on this blog to help others maintain their happiness. Yet, it was the one comment explaining that self pity and grieving can be therapeutic is what turned everything around for me.

As I sat quietly in my bed in the dark for a few hours, I allowed the negative thoughts to continue. I cursed the situation, the people who put me in this situation and myself for allowing it to happen until I felt suffocated by all the negativity and tired myself out.  After a short nap, I felt a bit better. The next day, I felt much happier than I had since the year started. That’s when I realized the comments from the women on that forum held much more truth than I thought.

Because of them, I’ve realized I’ve done readers of this blog a disservice. I’ve made it seem as though grieving should be avoided at all costs. By no means should you be mad at yourself for letting bad feelings take over. And you should never suppress your darkest feelings all in the sake of being hopeful.  Don’t force it to be something it’s not.  Doing so is not being true to who you are and will always keep you from being as happy as you could be. Instead, embrace the feelings of loss, depression and sadness and ride them out. We can never get over it if we don’t accept it. We cannot get better if it’s still in us.

Had I allowed myself to actually grieve and wallow in self pity earlier in the year, perhaps I would have been much happier. After all, I’d only be pretending to grab onto a happy future if I’m still holding on to a bitter past and even more bitter thoughts. So despite the contents of this blog, I encourage you to let the tears fall so genuine healing can follow. Only when we accept even the coldest of feelings within us can we begin the process of living happier again.

… And don’t worry about being a fraud for wanting to give up hope. Allowing yourself to grieve will somehow only make you all the more real.

How do you deal with grief? Have you ever felt happier after you grieve?

TERRIfic Quip: To be your happiest self, you’ve got to be willing to lose yourself from time to time.


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