Suck it up. Stiff upper lip. Don’t show your emotions. I’ve heard it all. All my life. It was my motto. No more!!! I hope that you too, are able to release that motto, if it’s yours. Especially when it comes to grieving our human and animal companion losses.
Are we being authentic to ourselves, to others (including our animal companions) when we don’t get in touch with our emotions and share them? Share them, not dump them — I’ll touch on that later.
Our emotions are part of us. In fact, they go a long way to making us who we are. Whether it’s happiness, sadness, fear, love, surprise, anger, joy, anxiety, excitement, anticipation, uneasiness, worry, amusement, ecstasy, bliss, delight, or complete devastation. The list is endless. We must honour our emotions, both our light and shadow side. We are both. Debbie Ford has written some excellent books on this that I highly recommend.
I’ve never heard ‘suck it up’ when someone was happy and laughing and displaying all their ‘light’ side. So is the message that we should only show part of us? Only the light side.
If we only are in touch with our light side we are ignoring our shadow side and vice versa. If we ‘suck it up’ and display a ‘stiff upper lip’ when it comes to our shadow side we are burying part of us and not honouring it. That doesn’t mean it’s not there.
So when I’m told to ‘suck it up’ and not feel sad that Maggie is on this journey where she will be leaving me far sooner than I ever imagined, I respond with a loving NO! I am sad. I will miss her. In fact, I’m devastated that our time as we are now isn’t going to be what I’d dreamed. I know she is going to a wonderful place. That she will be with Mom, and Dad, and Mac, and Buster and I am happy for her. I know that we will be together again. But, I will miss her in the here and now and if I’m going to be authentic and honest about it, I’m sad. I’m really sad that she’s leaving me. Not about where she is going.
So please, for anyone who feels that I should be ‘sucking it up’ honour my sadness with me. Honour me and honour Maggie by allowing us to be authentic.
Let me be there because it won’t last. It never does and if I acknowledge it, feel it, go into it’s core, it will dissolve. But I can’t do that if I bury it so deep within me that no one, including me, knows that it’s there. Sounds rather unhealthy to me. Been there done that and I know it’s unhealthy.
By letting me be in my feelings, of sadness etc., I don’t mean, let me dump all these feelings onto you so that you can take them away from me. That’s not my intent. That’s not honouring you, or me or even Maggie. These feelings are ‘mine, not yours’. I don’t ask you to take them on. I only ask that you honour me and what I’m feeling. I’m sure you all recognize the difference and have experienced the difference, the different energy, between someone being authentic in their feelings and someone ‘dumping’ them onto you. Dumping’s not good, or healthy, for anyone. So no dumping, please.
There are definitely times and places that are more appropriate for getting into our emotions and I know it’s important to recognize them. Whenever I’m in a place that’s not the best for getting in touch with, displaying, or releasing my emotions, like standing in line at the bank or the grocery store, I just say ‘I honour you (emotion). I love you and thank you for coming to me. I will get back in touch with you tonight (or whenever it is that will work).’ And I make sure that I do that — lovingly get in touch with it, sit with it, get to it’s core, and let it dissolve. Otherwise I know it’s being buried and will come out at a later date in an unhealthy way, maybe as swearing at another driver 🙂 Think of how we’d reduce road rage if we released those emotions in other ways!
When someone says to you ‘suck it up’, recognize that this may be how they deal with their pain. If it is, imagine how much pain they have buried throughout their lives. So respond lovingly and when and if it’s appropriate, it might lead to a very heart-to-heart conversation, allowing your relationship to grow and reach other levels. Or it might not. It will depend where they are at on their journey. But it’s amazing to me how my being authentic gives others the opportunity to do the same — bringing me back once again, to the Mission of this blog. So with love, I thank the ‘suck it up’ messages I’ve received.