Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a lot about how to handle anxiety and fear during this pandemic. Today I want to focus on another feeling the whole world is experiencing right now: Sadness.
Sadness for the loss of lives due to COVID, sadness for the horribly unnecessary and violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the countless names that came before theirs.
Sadness and outrage for the racial injustice still flourishing in 2020.
Sadness is a tough emotion to be present with. Many of us want to push past it or pretend it’s not there.
But we need to honor our sadness in order to move through it. In this post, I’m sharing ways to safely feel your sadness and process it during these difficult times.
These are the techniques I’m using every day, and I want to share them with you.
How to honor your sadness and discomfort
We must take time each day to be very present with our feelings of discomfort. We have to be in a place of consciousness that we’ve never known before.
We must care for the parts of ourselves that are extremely activated. Have you noticed old stories, patterns and fears reappearing lately? Things that you thought were resolved kicking up again?
You’re not alone.
Right now we need to show up for what’s up. If we don’t show up for what’s up, it will keep coming up. So let’s do our part to show up. One simple way you can do this right now is to leave a comment on this post sharing what you’re sad about. You can say in the comments, “I’m sad about this and sad about that.”
We can’t skip this step. When we feel sad, powerless, overwhelmed or disconnected from our faith, the first step isn’t to jump into a method or meditation. The first step is to honor the feeling.
Honor your sadness by talking to your inner child
A powerful way to honor your feelings is to recognize your inner child and talk to them. Lately I’ve been paying attention to the situations in which I notice little Gabby, my inner child, show up. I’ll say, “Oh, there’s that heart palpitation. I’m feeling uncomfortable. I’m wanting to rage, wanting to act out, wanting to force my energy onto people. I’m feeling out of control.”
I’ll immediately notice that feeling. I’ll breathe into that feeling. And then I’ll say very directly to myself, “Little Gabby, I’ve got you.” Because at the end of the day, no person outside of ourselves can care for the little innocent person within us the way that we can.
We can speak to our inner child and say things like, “Little Gabby, I understand you’re having a hard time.” Or, “Little Gabby, you need to feel sad right now.” You speak to yourself with a lot of love and compassion.
Speak to your innocent child self with compassion.
I do this same thing with my son. I’ll say, “I see, Oliver, how uncomfortable this is for you. I honor what you’re going through. I respect what you’re experiencing.” I’ll hold him and I’ll say, “I understand.”
I’ll give him that love and respect instead of saying, “No, no, you’re fine. Move on. Let’s go play. Let’s go watch a show. Let’s go do something else,” in an effort to push him past it.
When you fully process and let that feeling move through you, that’s when you can redirect. This is the work of Dr. Dan Siegel. It’s a strategy he calls “connect and redirect,” to meet the child where they are and honor what they are capable of taking in at the moment. Connecting has to come before redirecting.
We can parent ourselves in the moment
The same way we parent our children, we can parent ourselves. To do this, we want to give ourselves that same level of respect, nurturing, guidance and connection. It may mean that we have to go sit in the bathtub for 10 minutes because we need a private space where we can just feel our feelings and cry it out.
We’re all feeling the waves of emotion this experience is providing for us. This global situation is giving us all an opportunity to learn how to care for the child part of ourselves that’s getting activated.
Our adult selves are ready to figure things out: to make the grocery list and go to the doctor’s office and do whatever we have to do. But the little part of ourselves isn’t being honored and nurtured right now.
Honor the parts of you that are feeling lost, sad, insecure, uncertain or fearful at this time. Give yourself a deep level of love and respect.
You can start speaking back to that inner child. Say things like, “I love you. I’m here for you. I respect you. I honor you. I hear how uncomfortable you are right now. I hear how scared you are right now. That’s okay.”
If this is an unfamiliar practice to you, consider it in the context of talking to another person. Imagine you go to a loved one and say, “I’m having a really hard time right now. I’m sad and I’m scared.” They wave their hand dismissively and say, “You’re fine. This isn’t a big deal. Move on.”
It’s likely your reaction (whether internally or out loud) will be something like, “Screw you. I can’t move on. I have to be present.” That interaction will only make you more activated. The same is true when you do it to yourself.
Cultivate a deep level of love and respect for yourself.
Be the adult resource self for your own inner child. Speak back to that part of yourself that says, “I’m terrified. I’m out of control. I don’t know what’s going on.” Notice it, witness it and see how it feels in your body. And then lovingly and respectfully speak back to the little being within you: “I’ve got you. I hear you. I respect you. You’re doing the best you can.”
Practice calming Jin Shin Jyutusu holds
In my free Anxiety Relief Workshop, I teach two holds that are part of a Japanese healing modality called Jin Shin Jyutsu. These are very simple moves you can use in the moment when you feel overwhelmed by sadness, anxiety and so on.
Here’s how to do them:
Doing these holds helps you get back into your body and reconnect with yourself. It’s a practice of self-soothing and self-care.
Make compassionate self-talk a daily habit
Right now our inner dialogue is drama and chaos. Give yourself the chance to shift your inner dialogue by establishing a new way of speaking to yourself and a new level of respect for yourself. When you honor your sadness and your feelings of fear and insecurity and loss, you’ll gain a sense of presence and connection that you may not have ever known before.
You might know that I practice everything I teach and always test my methods on myself. I can say with great conviction that the most valuable practice for me right now is speaking to, honoring and respecting that child part of myself that is super activated. I do this every day.
When you’re ready to guide yourself into a better-feeling emotion, I suggest using the Abraham-Hicks emotional guidance scale to get there bit by bit, step by step, without forcing anything. (For more in-depth guidance on this tool, check out chapter 4 of my book Super Attractor.)
The more you practice this on yourself, the better you’ll be able to support your loved ones, too.
Watch my free Anxiety Relief Workshop for more methods to feel safe
If you want more guidance, I recorded a free 50-minute workshop for you where I teach six methods for anxiety relief (including the holds above).
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- The spiritual tools I use to maintain a steady sense of peace during difficult times
- A technique that helps you feel comforted within minutes
- My favorite guided meditation for feeling uplifted and safe
- An anxiety relief method you can use anywhere, anytime
Share this with anyone who needs it
If you know somebody right now who’s feeling sad, overwhelmed, scared, or is struggling to manage their feelings, please share this post with them.
My intention and my commitment to all of you is to create a safe space where you can come to receive guidance that you can trust. The way I can guarantee you can trust the guidance I’m offering you is because I’m living it completely and fully.
Every single day I’m waking up and offering that same guidance to myself. I’m living it, I’m breathing it, I’m allowing these methods and processes to move through me.
I want to support you, and I want to remind you that the Universe is always guiding and supporting you as well. I hope this post helps you to honor your feelings, handle your sadness and know that you are safe.
Books to further support you with handling sadness
If you want more guidance on how to handle sadness, judgment, fear and relationships during this time, here are my book recommendations:
- To help you be more compassionate to yourself and others in difficult times, check out Judgment Detox.
- For any parents wanting guidance on supporting your kids right now, read No-Drama Discipline by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, as well as Trauma-Proofing Your Kids by Peter Levine and Maggie Kline.
- To proactively change your thought patterns, read May Cause Miracles.