By Marissa Ingrasci
I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I saw that my best friend from college had had a baby. I “liked” the photo and congratulated her, but I was also struck with sadness. It was a reminder that we are no longer friends.
The end of our friendship wasn’t something I wanted and it came without explanation. It is a reminder that life is filled with things that we don’t like, that don’t seem fair, and that we don’t have control over. Losing a job, ending a marriage or relationship, learning someone we love is ill or hurt are not things we ask for, but they are what is. Most of the time, try as we might, we can’t change what is.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not the biggest fan of feeling sad or angry. There have been countless times in my life where I’ve said to myself, “I don’t want to feel this way.” Or, “There must be something wrong with me that I’m not over this yet.”
These sentiments have yet to help me feel differently or get over something faster – big shocker, I know. In fact, judging how I feel has only ever served to put me at odds with myself, which is a fantastic fast track to shame and self-loathing (vicious cycle, anyone?). So how do we move through life’s disappointments without, as U2 puts it, getting stuck in a moment?
- Acknowledge and name the feeling that’s coming up. If it’s sadness, hurt, resentment, fear, loss, anger – name it. For Hoffman grads, it’s the perfect time to pull out the feelings list from the Process! Naming a feeling is a powerful tool to diffuse the energy around that emotion. It provides space around the feeling and reminds us that emotion is temporary.
- Self-Compassion. Kristen Neff is a leading expert on self-compassion, and her practice is a fantastic one. Putting your hands on your heart, repeat: “This is a moment of suffering. All human beings suffer. May I be kind to myself.” Then check in with your spiritual self and ask: What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself? (self-compassion.org)
- Remind yourself that you may not know the bigger picture yet. Depending on your particular situation, questions like, “What else (other than my immediate conclusion) could this mean?” Or, “What space might be opening up as a result of this happening?” And, “What might be going on in his/her life right now?” can allow us to gain insight and perspective, and may even open us up to opportunities we didn’t know were there.
There are many endings and transitions in life, and acknowledging the pain we feel around them is important, not only for our own healing but to lay the groundwork for a new beginning. Sadness and anger might feel uncomfortable, but they can also be liberating.
Marissa Ingrasci is a Life Coach, filmmaker, and actor. She is the daughter of Hoffman directors Raz and Liza Ingrasci. For more information about Marissa, please visit therealizedlife.com.