Do you allow yourself time to grieve?
April 15, 2019

I think some pretty cool gifts are wrapped in pain.

When the life I used to have many years ago began to unravel, I didn’t see that at first. I looked at it as a gift, all right. The kind you open and mutter, “You shouldn’t have.”

There was no map to show me a way through the pain, and eventually I quit fighting it. I let myself hurt for seven months. For seven months I had the luxury of doing almost nothing but grieve, and I learned the only way to feel better sometimes is let yourself feel even worse.

Any four-year-old knows this. Trying telling a toddler to stop crying, that he has no right to be this upset about that thing. Suddenly you have a different problem.

The opposite is magic. If you tell the four-year-old, “That sucks. That really sucks” -- as you scoop him up in your arms to comfort him for as long as he needs it -- watch how quickly the sun comes out. The bad feelings are washing away, corny as what you’re telling him sounds, and making room for the good ones. Maybe that’s why they call it having a good cry.

Whatever. It works.

And did you notice I used a little boy in this scenario? Wouldn’t it be great if we stopped telling boys to suck it up? We might change the world!