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.

Giving ourselves permission to feel it


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11 thoughts on “Giving Ourselves Permission to Feel It All

  1. Nicole G. says:

    Embrace the lostness! Love that quote Justine and will do my best to implement that mantra into my life.

    I often say I am so lost in my emotions that I have lost a part of me. My entire day is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. For example, today at my office, I walked by a very pregnant coworker (that I do not know personally) and started crying the second she passed me in the hall. I can’t even look at pregnant people as the jealousy overwhelms me. Following that breakdown, I then get reminded in a meeting that Friday is “Kids Day” and that everyone without kids will be covering for the people with kids, as they get to go to an off-site party for the day. This sends me into a tizzy of anger and pain that I cannot contain, so I leave the room. Then I go home, to my safe place. My husband has been working nights, leaving us very little time with each other these past few weeks. He keeps me grounded when he’s there, but when I am home alone, anything will set me off and I end up crying/angry/jealous/happy…all of the above on a constant loop until I cry myself to sleep. From the continuous cycle of commercials containing babies/parenting, to the never-ending baby posts on Facebook, I am constantly bombarded with reminders of what I wanted in my life and cannot have – at work and at home. I look around my empty home, and wonder how different my life would have been if I did not lose my pregnancies. I can cry, laugh, yell and punch pillows all at once. I swear that if someone was watching me through a window they would put me away. I have tried to keep myself busy with hobbies, but my “lostness” won’t let me enjoy them. I used to have long conversations on the phone with family, but now find that I’d rather not talk to anyone.

    I often refer to myself as a bitter empty shell, completely lost. But I have to find a way to embrace my emotions/lostness and find a way to make this pain less debilitating. I need to use this lostness to find myself again. Like you said, one tiny step at a time.


    1. Nicole,

      That sounds super f’ing rough! Our every day culture can be so hard sometime! Thank you so much for reading and spending time on this comment and your light! I hope you allow yourself to find your truth, clarity, magic and yourself in the lostness ;). Much love, Justine


  2. This is a great reminder that I needed to hear. It’s so hard (for me at least) to feel all of the emotions, but I’m working hard at it.


    1. Honestly, think this is one of the most helpful concepts I’ve embraced for myself and for my clients! Remember, we are actually our own light in the lost! Justine


  3. Meaghan says:

    I love this. I tend to want to classify and package up all of my emotions. The control freak in me wants everything to fit in a neat little box and be wrapped up with a pretty bow. But that just isn’t possible when going through something this difficult, emotional and layered. The permission to feel and acknowledge multiple emotions (especially polarizing emotions) at once is one I need to remember more often, so I feel less crazy. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone — I loathe it, but I love my life. “Freedom with sadness. Anger with joy. Fear with bravery.” Yes, yes and YES!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This shit is messy!!! But where our clarity shines, I think. ❤ J


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