Happy on the outside. Dying on the inside. That’s the story of secret grief. You may have experienced it too. Or, perhaps, you are going through it right now.
What are the seeds of secret grief? They’re all those telltale sorrows that build up inside, leaving us feeling overwhelmed. Cutting through our moments of happiness, this gathered anguish leaves us hurting in secret.
You see the symptoms easily enough if you’re looking. But even those suffering secret grief might choose to overlook it. Sometimes pain feels too hard to face.
I’m talking about private despair, alcoholism, drug taking, bulimia, self-loathing, binge eating, and all the other ways we try to compensate. But they never work. There’s no escape down a blind alley. Besides, secret grief won’t let you.
But there are ways out. For one, I believe release needs acceptance. When we stop rejecting our awfulness or blaming beneath our “cover up happiness”, the landscape changes. Suddenly, we can find not a just one escape route, but a host of paths leading everywhere.
Positive mental attitude gurus will tell you, “If you’d only love yourself then everything will be fine.” That’s true, but it’s also as shallow as a saucer of milk. The heart of the matter is not about willing a switch from loathing to loving. It’s deeper.
Personally, knowing I am loved has made my life an oasis. To realize love for yourself and others, we need to know we’re okay. But, when you’re suffering secret grief, that’s too hard to believe. That is, unless you can first grasp someone else loves you, warts and all. Then, it’s not only possible, it’s a transforming reality.
So, without trying to trivialize genuine feelings, please accept this “note” as a statement of faith… in you. If secret grief ever gets a foothold in your life, remember: there are those – whether you know them or not – who will gladly accept you without agendas. Better still, they love you (or will when they get to know you).
Can you expect everyone to start treating you with kindness? Nope. Will the world become gentler and easier just because we seek it to be? No, I don’t think so. But it’s my belief that we are meant to be loved, welcomed, and cherished in this life. Not by everyone, but some.
Secret grief need never be an end point. It merely reminds us of what we really need: love, the discovery of self-acceptance, and the heart to offer tenderness to others.
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