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Give yourself permission to feel

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

I watched on social media on Thursday, a great number of people who felt surprised at how sad they felt at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Many people who did not consider themselves Royalists seemed unsettled by how the news impacted them. I also have seen a huge amount of people of colour reflecting on their own personal family connections to colonialism and feeling the grieve of endurance and yet again being told that this is not the right time to talk about their pain. I began to think of the loss of my own grandmother and how sad this news would have made her, and in turn, how much I miss her.

Grief can be both personal and political. We are able to hold complex, and sometimes contradictory thoughts in our minds at the same time. The problem is that we are not often allowed space for complexity and are told that everything must be good or bad or right or wrong. And the problem with judging things (for example, how other people grieve) like that is the person we will use this judgement against most is always ourselves.

There is so much liberty in holding the thought "My feelings are valid" whilst also not assigning them an moral weight or judgement. These are my feelings. I am allowed to have feelings. It is natural to have feelings. All of these conscious thoughts will help humanise was can feel like a great big opinion bonfire. It is human to have big emotional responses to death. And of course not all of us will have the same responses, our responses may surprise us and it is often the case, that when big feelings come up, we rarely know what to do with them (spoiler: that is exactly why I trained as a coach).

There is so much talk of doom on the horizon, so much uncertainty and unknown which we just have to deal with, that sometimes, it is issues slightly peripheral to our personal panic which offer space for folk to feel their fear of change. It is human to crave familiarity.

My heart is with the people who have lost someone, or many people, and who were not expecting this to stir up so much for them. And to the people who have historically suffered and are still suffering due to systematic disparity, who are finding the outpourings of grief extremely painful. There has been such an air of “just get on with it” over these past few years, that rarely have we had space to grieve. This is why we must work to support each other where we are at.

I just want to remind you it’s ok to feel what you feel.


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