|  Blog Post   |  Giving Ourselves Permission to Feel It All

Giving Ourselves Permission to Feel It All

Many of us are taught there are 6 basic emotions; happy, sad, anger, disgust, surprise and fear. Part of my job as a therapist is to teach my clients that we were taught too simply, as there are many kinds of each of these six emotions. For example: there are many kinds of anger. Are you frustrated, enraged, pissed off, irritated, etc.? When we are able to accurately identify the emotion we are more equipped to cope with it.

This is emotional intelligence.

What I have learned throughout my own recovery after infertility and now working as an advocate and helping many clients through and after the journey of infertility is that there is something even more powerful than knowing all the different kinds of emotions, how to identify them and therefore cope with them.

There is room for them all; room to feel them all.

Even all at the same time.

This is where the movie Inside Out nailed it brilliantly. Sadness and Joy can be felt all in the same moment, and for many of those moments it makes it even more amazing of a life moment for us. As I watched the film I prayed that every parent would see it and learn the message that we must feel the dark with the light, that there truly is room for it all.

Just be happy is not the answer to our problems.

But I also desperately need every adult, especially those going through struggle, to hear this message too.

We must give ourselves permission to feel it all; all at the exact same time.

Freedom with sadness.

Anger with joy.

Acceptance with longing.

Fear with bravery.

Contentment with sorrow.

Trusting with feeling forgotten.

Happy with jealousy.

Bitter with love.

For me, this is what I call the complicated gray of life. I think we must give ourselves permission to feel it all, to feel what we have been previously taught are opposite emotions at the same time. I think we must give ourselves this permission, because when we make room for it all we can find our clarity.

We can find our freedom.

I believe when we walk into this feeling of lostness, into the complicated gray, we make room for the light.

In this permission our magic can be born.

And, we can heal a little bit more.

Instead of our struggles leaving us empty bitter shells of who we once were, our permission to feel it all and to embrace the complicated grey helps us heal and leads us to the truth of who we are and who we want to be.

Feeling our emotions, all of them, especially all at once is messy, scary and uncomfortable. But, giving ourselves this permission is what will allow us to take the deep knowing breath and have the courage to take that one tiny step forward.

That one tiny step forward to who we want to be and who we are supposed to be.

This is the work of rising ever upward.




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Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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