I recently listened to a sermon by Andy Mineo on grief. Andy is rapper and he opens up about mourning the loss of his mother last year. He offered an incredible perspective on grief and feelings that I want to share this week. Many of the ideas below come from his speech.
You’re allowed to feel pain. I don’t know if you know that. You’re allowed to hurt, get upset, and grieve. The world today tells us to act tough, be strong, and not let anything faze us. You’re allowed to have feelings even if society is shaping you to suppress your emotions.
I know that I’m really good at hiding my true emotions. For all of those 3s on the Enneagram, we are really good at looking like everything is just fine. We want people to think we have everything together, so we make it look like that. I don’t want my emotions to get the best of me, so I often don’t listen to any emotions. I avoid them in hopes that I never have to deal with them. I’m probably not the only one who does that.
It’s easy to distract yourself from raw emotions and feelings. That may be through working an insane number of hours, extra studying, or binge-watching Netflix. Everyone has a distraction of some kind.
How often do we talk about struggles? How often do we let people walk with us through our struggles? People will often mention a struggle, but end with, “…but it’s alright.” I know I do. That is often just a lie to yourself and the person you are talking to. You aren’t letting them walk with you in your struggle. When you let others in, you let them love you. You let them truly understand what you are going through. I’m thankful for the many times I go to my best friends and pour out whatever is on my mind.
People want to help. We are often too afraid to ask.
Bad things are going to happen. You can’t avoid pain forever. If you don’t want to hurt, then you have to completely shut yourself off from everyone and everything. Some of you may be struggling with the loss of a loved one, a scary surgery, or a big financial crisis. Some of you are going through difficulties I can’t imagine or relate to. You are allowed to be upset, cry, and grieve. If you suppress your emotions, they will only show up later. In Family Photo, Andy warns, “ ’Cause when you bury emotions, you bury them alive. They only come back stronger, somewhere later in your life.”
Besides letting yourself feel emotions and grieve, be someone who lets other people mourn. It can be uncomfortable. Put yourself in his or her shoes. When Andy talks about losing his mother, he shares a time when his friend, Alex Medina comforted him during the week following that tough time. Alex listened to Andy and imagined being in the situation of someone dealing with the loss of a loved one. He offered to design cards for the funeral and visitation since he is a graphic designer. Alex sacrificed a talent of his to help his friend in need. If you want to help, sacrifice something for others; that could be a talent, item you have, or your time. We often say, “Let me know if you need anything.” That isn’t bad, but there is another level to help those who are grieving.
People don’t want an answer. They don’t want advice on what to do. They don’t want to know that it could be worse. Just be with people when they hurt. They came to you because they don’t want to be alone.
You are allowed to feel.
I don’t know who needs to hear this message this week or in the future, but I felt like I needed to write about it this week. If you ever need someone to listen, let me know.
I appreciate you.