“Don’t feel bad!” “Its okay don’t be upset.” “Look on the plus side!” I’ve heard these and other “consolations” many a time. I call these “consolations” because they are oftentimes a genuine attempt on the part of a listener to make someone feel better... but they don’t always help! In my opinion, a listener should let the feelings exist.
Feelings are very real. Something that I’ve come to lean on in the last couple of years is the reality of what I feel. Staying with a feeling or emotion is a tall order sometimes. The most important phrase there is “staying with”.
One way that I examine what is going on inside is by reviewing my day, from morning to night. A lot of times this has been called an “examen” or “recollection of the day”. In the context of prayer, I consider “Where was God today? Where was I today? How did I respond to the events of the day? What was good, what wasn’t so good?” You can make this your own.
I find that sometimes I didn’t make a connection during an event of the day, or I didn’t realize how important a small occurrence was. Making this a habit has made it easier for me to offer my day to God and not just focus on my own plans for it.
In this way, we can be a little more aware of the place of certain feelings on a given day, and what they may tell us. They can be beautiful or ugly, but acknowledgement of them is a primary step to honesty with ourselves, those around us, and our God.
Feel what you feel, let it speak to you, and offer it to God!