Letting It Rip
Sometimes the best medicine is not rushing to fix everything — and instead allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling
What if I told you that it is OK to not be OK.
We’ve all heard this phrase before, right? That doesn’t mean we’ve actually put it in motion or even know how to do that.
I was reminded of this lesson this past week. And while I’m not currently going through a divorce (been there done that), life’s ups and downs come in many flavors — and can trigger the same wounds.
What does allowing oneself to NOT be OK look like?
Well, it’s about giving yourself permission to sit in the messy, vulnerable, ugly cry face emotions. It’s about not jumping to slap a Band-Aid on every wound that ails you. It’s about not hiding, pretending, or shaming yourself.
It’s also temporary — someplace to visit, not take up permanent residency.
Hey, I gave God and my guardian angels an earful this past week in the car. Yep, I was THAT crazy lady talking to herself as I drove — just letting it rip.
And beneath that built up anger was pain and sadness that needed to emerge, my own volcanic eruption that could no longer be contained. I had held it in for too long — kept putting on that happy face and being the cheerleader for others.
But even cheerleaders need cheering.
I know it makes sense, but we rarely give ourselves the opportunity to do this. In fact, when was the last time you just cried, screamed, pounded your fists into the sofa cushions?
And yes, I know you are likely worthy of an Academy Award, having kept it all together for everyone else for so long; your kids, your family, your work...and now your divorce. And I know that you don’t want to do this in front of those people, but mark my words, the longer you hold it in — the more you risk it coming out when you least expect it and not in a way you are going to feel good about.
It may even manifest physically. Nothing is random.
When I was in the height of my own divorce, with few outlets for all that I was dealing with emotionally — my back gave out. Not in a small way where it hurt to move, but rather in a way that left me immobile on the kitchen floor with a small child sleeping down the hallway.
I seriously didn’t know how I was going to get up. I remember lying there on the floor in the darkness, terrorized by it all — feeling alone, vulnerable, and hopeless. But it really was the beginning of my connecting the dots of my mind, body, spirit and realizing that nothing was random.
Recently a mama texted me that she had bronchitis. Oh, how the mama bear in me wanted to scoop her up, tuck her into bed and make her a big pot of chicken soup. “You know the lungs hold your grief, right?” I texted her. “No, I didn’t” she responded.
Without psychoanalyzing anyone, I shared with her what I knew from teachings of Louise Hay and others. The body keeps the score.
This mama was in the middle of an abrupt move (that’s enough to send anyone over the edge), juggling a small child, a complicated ex, the unsolicited and unsupportive comments from her family, her job and showing up for her herself during this divorce. Something had to give eventually.
When your body caves...nurture it. Best yet, ask it what it needs before it has to scream out to you...because it will...and the timing will never be convenient. Pay attention to your body, it’s your foundation. Give it what it needs to hold you all together.
Interrupt the unraveling. Find a way to pull yourself out of the situation...and just feel.
So perhaps, it’s time to make a plan for yourself. When the triggers trigger, how could you sit with them? How could you just feel what needs to be felt so you can get beneath them once and for all? How could you refrain from trying to hide them?
A good cry in the shower?
Yelling through clenched teeth in the car?
Pounding your fists into the sofa cushions?
Getting back into bed to hide beneath the covers?
I was relieved when the mama above texted and said that she had called a friend for help. YES! Let yourself off the hook, mama. Maybe, just maybe, despite having been able to do it all before — you need a break. You can’t do it all alone!
And maybe that’s OK. Maybe the house won’t be perfectly cleaned, the meals perfectly planned out and every task checked off your to-do list. So be it.
The holidays are just around the corner (as if you needed anything else added to your already full plate). Could you give yourself some compassionate grace and recognize that they may not look like they have in the past? You may not be living in a scene from a Hallmark holiday movie...and that’s OK.
You don’t need any more pressure than you are already under, mama.
The greatest gift you can give yourself in a moment of great upset and upheaval is permission to not be OK. Exhale. Don’t rush to fix anything, instead ask it where it wants to guide you.
This may all be new territory for you but allow yourself to view life through a new lens. It is possible to see things differently and it starts with admitting that you are not OK and that’s OK.
Resist the urge to fix, change, polish, clean-up or represent anything. Just sit in the stillness...and yes, in the pain. This is where your answers will tiptoe forward and present themselves.
And sometimes not over-indulging the emotion is what you need in that moment. What do I mean by that? Well, just accept that you feel like s#*t right now — and you likely aren’t in the right frame of mind to come up with the solutions in this state. So...do something instead that nurtures you.
This is very different from bypassing or denial. It’s actually conscious self-awareness.
Ask yourself, What do I need in this moment?
I gave myself some space for a few days. I didn’t force anything. My entire nervous system relaxed. I knew my problem would still be there waiting for me — but I greeted it from a much more solid place.
That’s self-care — and this is a great strategy for all the BIG decisions you need to make during your divorce for you and your kids — and your future ahead.
Sometimes the best strategy is just calling it like it is and figuring out how best to support yourself. And then reminding yourself that you are OK even when you are not feeling OK.
— Kristen Noel, Certified Divorce Coach & Founder, Best Self Intuitive Divorce
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