Your heart is sad, and you’re feeling withdrawn, and deeply in despair. It’s as if there’s a weighted blanket wrapped over your shoulders, pulling your energy down to the earth.
Maybe you feel like crying, but you lack the energy to produce tears. Everything you want is beyond your reach. You’d give anything just to get to the other side of this mountain.
Why is this happening to you? What have you done to deserve this?
You think you’ve been through all the stages of grief, although you don’t care to add them up at the moment. You’re tired. Exhausted. Drained.
Allow yourself to feel
When you’re in the depths of deep dark despair, there’s little chance of finding something to cheer you up. These are the moments that require a little stillness, and the allowance of self-acceptance and grief.
Can you allow yourself to feel the sadness in your heart? Is it possible to merely exist in this darkness for a time?
Sometimes these moments show up for us as a means to get our attention. If you allow yourself to rest and just be, you’ll eventually find yourself closer to understanding why you’re in this place.
Could it be that it’s time to give up? Or maybe this is a pivotal moment where you take a step back and realize that you’re not genuinely failing. You just haven’t discovered your next step.
Sometimes we need sadness
Growth and maturity often come from the moments we feel the deep despair of life gone awry. At some point, it’s helpful to admit that we don’t have control over everything.
I’m your typical recovering perfectionist, type A personality, and I’ve usually got it going on in my life. I’m an intelligent, high achieving, all-around ass-kicker – just like you!
But guess what, it’s unsustainable to be in that mode all the time. There are moments to shine and moments to stop and reflect.
At this moment I’m feeling deep shame and despair for a situation that isn’t of my own doing. Something life thrust upon me. But the competent overachieving part of me just wants to get in there and solve some problems!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.
Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back. Sometimes it’s ok to admit that you’re tapped out, and need a break. Some of my most powerful life discoveries have been at times like these. I’ve had to look inward and feel the feelings before discovering my next steps.
If you’re feeling unusually low, allow yourself to lean-in and feel whatever you’re feeling. The feelings won’t last forever, and soon you’ll be left with a mind that’s more open to something new. Your most significant breakthrough might be just around the corner.
Here’s what I do in moments of deep inner despair
Find a quiet space
You may be different, but I prefer solitude in moments like this. A calm environment can be helpful for therapeutically working through grief.
Turn on some instrumental music
While I’m an advocate of using comedy to pull yourself into a better mood, I don’t recommend doing so when your soul is screaming for you to pay attention. At times like this, sometimes feeling the pain is the way through it.
Sometimes I watch a movie with a broader perspective or aspect of pain much more significant than mine. Schindler’s List is one of those for me.
A part of having self-compassion is reminding myself that my suffering is a part of the human experience. It’s ok to suffer, it’s ok to feel this way for a time. Remembering that all humans experience periodic pain in their lives can be profoundly helpful.
Take a break from social obligations
To be perfectly honest, some good family friends showed up tonight, and I’m in my own room listening to music and typing away on this keyboard.
Why don’t I just go out there and be a good host? Because I know my husband is extroverted enough to handle this, and I know that it would be a significant drain on me at this time, something I can’t afford just now.
Who cares what anyone else thinks? Be true to you, take care of your own needs, and do so unapologetically.
Sometimes this works, but sometimes it’s too much effort. I’ve grown accustomed to doing a lot of writing, so for me, there is a flow that happens with my fingers to the keyboard. There’s a therapeutic quality to getting thoughts off my mind and allowing them to flow through my fingers.
I’ve programmed myself to automatically reach for an extra glass of water if I’m feeling down. Water is essential for having balance in your body. Water has a powerful effect on the mind and can help move you through the sadness and back to feeling well.
Go for a walk or a run
I love walking in the quiet of a moonlit night and as the sun rises in the morning. I love hearing the loud cicadas sing, and the seeing the fireflies twinkling in the dark roadside meadows.
Connecting back with the simplicity of nature is deeply therapeutic, especially in moments of despair or sadness.
Stay open for insight
Even though I have a full toolbox of techniques that can get me feeling better fast, in moments such as this I allow myself to fully embrace what’s going on because I know if I pay attention there will be something to learn.
Perhaps I’ll experience a vital shift or reframe my story in a revolutionary way. Or maybe I’ll suddenly get the inclination to pick up a particular book or even do a little research for a new idea.
I allow my sadness to lead me there. If I’m paying attention and allowing it to happen, I find a new direction to walk in. Every time.
Then I open the toolbox
Once I’ve gained my bigger insight I’ll pull out my tools to get myself back on my feet. But I’ll do so having learned something valuable, having found another clue in the larger puzzle of that I’m trying to solve.
What about you?
Do you allow yourself to feel the darker emotions when they show up in your life? Do you find the space to listen and feel for new ideas, solutions, or a shift in perspective?
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