Updated: Jun 22, 2022
One of the greatest challenges in today's climate is processing the emotions of feeling letdown, and setback - like the world is a fiasco. Are you feeling at the end of your rope, a loss, and fighting a general malaise or hopelessness? Cumulatively, these emotions are lingering from the lockdowns, isolation, and ever-changing mandates not to mention the impacts on the family unit and your personal history.
Add to the climate the very real catastrophes that have impacted you or those close to you. Without tools to process these emotions and events it can become overwhelming and make you feel stuck, hopeless, and without options. As a mental health professional I know that ignoring, suppressing, or denying what you're feeling leads to both physical and mental illness. But, there is hope. While we do not ignore reality we can process our expectations, and our feelings to gain greater understanding in a healthy way.
While the emotion of disappointment and discouragement are some of the most complex and difficult emotions to process - at its core they stem from the primary emotions of fear and loss. Taking the time to assess, review, and reframe is essential to forward movement.
Mourning and grief are a healthy process to truly live life fully instead of living in denial or out of step with reality. When humanity does not express its sadness or when grief is not acknowledged or is invalidated it often leads to bitterness, resentments, and unresolved life issues - this is truly what keeps us stuck in cycles of dissatisfaction and discouragement. This reinforces a state of isolation and living detached from our truest selves. As mentioned above, unresolved grief often manifests in mental and physical pain; stomach aches, headaches, depression, and lack of sleep to name a few symptoms. It is often easier and less time consuming to ignore the pain or cover up our true feelings with a fake platitude such as “I am fine.”.”
What is lament? Lament is when we push the pause button and take the time to reflect for healing’s sake. It is an opportunity to, whether with yourself or others, feel what you feel. Healthy examples of lament a mentioned in the Bible. David and Isaiah's laments, among others, are detailed. New Testament references Matthew, “blessed are they that mourn” and continues with a promise "for they shall be comforted." The term lamenting can make you think of a good country western song but true lament is not a pity party or an act of whining. It is a heart's cry, calling out to God in regards to our grief, deep sorrow around loss or regret. It can be motivated by a personal loss, an injustice, tyranny, and mourning what has come upon us - as an individual, family, community, or nation.
Allow lament to become part of your story, and part of your healing journey. Practice lament as part of the process and an invitation for change to occur and for true restoration. I invite you to enter this journey with me, as I will be posting over the next few months subjects that tie together the healing process with lament. My compelling reason for offering this process is to provide tools for my community so that together we can develop a deeper understanding of what is happening in the world around us and that we can infect the world with health and hope. Consider the practice of lament.
References: Matthew 5:4 KJV, Psalms, Isaiah