Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Your Grief Is Not A Problem To Be Solved

by Kelci Jager

In the course of human experience, emotions navigate a complex journey, intertwining with moments of joy, sorrow, love, and loss. However, within this emotional spectrum, there is a common inclination to categorize certain feelings as either negative or positive. Navigating the maze of emotions that arise, particularly in the aftermath of the death of a loved one, requires a transformative viewpoint. This perspective perceives negative emotions not as issues but as messengers brimming with profound insights.

your grief not a problem

The Cycle of Emotional Struggle

With death comes the companion of grief, and often the painful emotions that emerge are treated as obstacles demanding immediate resolution. A consistent desire to fix, suppress, or avoid these emotions creates a cycle of emotional turmoil. When we constantly strive to eliminate or push away our painful emotions, it can lead to a perpetual struggle within ourselves. The very act of attempting to “fix” these emotions can intensify their impact, trapping us in a cycle of internal conflict and unrest. Suppressing or avoiding these feelings may provide temporary relief, but it often comes at the cost of long-term emotional well-being. It’s essential to recognize that these emotions are a natural part of the grieving process and attempting to control or dismiss them can hinder our ability to heal and move forward. Instead, acknowledging, understanding, and gently navigating these emotions can contribute to a more authentic and compassionate approach to grief.

Listening, Not Avoiding

The initial step in navigating negative emotions involves active listening rather than avoidance. It is crucial to approach this process without self-criticism or judgment. By understanding the underlying messages these emotions convey, individuals can break free from the futile attempts to escape through distractions or substances. Treating emotions as messengers, rather than problems, mitigates emotional suffering.

Changing Perceptions

Fearing negative emotions can have a profound impact on our mental landscape. However, when we permit ourselves to feel these emotions without restraint, our brains begin to perceive them differently. This shift in perception reduces the overall suffering that often accompanies the processing of difficult emotions. Embracing the full spectrum of emotions, devoid of labels like good or bad, becomes fundamental to developing emotional intelligence and resilience.

Practice Self-Compassion

In moments of emotional distress, practicing self-compassion becomes a powerful tool. Extending the same kindness and understanding one would offer a friend undergoing a tough time can be transformative. This change in self-dialogue alters the narrative, reshaping the way challenging emotions are navigated.

A Personal Journey through Grief

My personal grief journey embarked upon a profound realization following my husband’s leukemia diagnosis in January 2021. However, the clarity of this concept materialized after  his death. Left alone in my new reality, I made desperate attempts to fix my grief, believing I should showcase strength or composure, but this proved futile. It wasn’t until I allowed the rawness of pain without judgment that I began to decipher its messages—messages of love, loss, and the significance of honoring emotions.

Healthy Outlets of Expression

Engaging in activities that encourage emotional release and growth can significantly contribute to the healing journey. Consider incorporating various outlets such as journaling, where you can reflect on your thoughts and emotions, providing a tangible record of your experiences. Art, in its many forms, serves as a powerful medium for expressing complex emotions that may be challenging to articulate verbally. Additionally, engaging in open and honest conversations with others whom you trust creates a supportive space for sharing your feelings. These outlets not only offer avenues for emotional expression but also contribute to personal growth, fostering resilience as you navigate the complexities of grief.

The Path to Self-Discovery

Seeing “negative” emotions as messengers rather than adversaries opens up a profound pathway to self-discovery and emotional well-being. When acknowledged and understood, these emotions carry valuable insights that offer a deeper understanding of oneself, personal needs, and core values. This process contributes to building a more authentic and fulfilling life.


As you embark on the journey of self-discovery through emotions, recognize that it is an ongoing exploration. Each emotion, whether perceived as positive or negative, serves as a unique opportunity for growth and understanding. Embrace these emotional experiences as integral components of your distinctive human journey, allowing them to shape and enrich your evolving narrative. In doing so, you not only navigate the complexities of grief but also foster a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you.

About the AuthorKelci Jager

Kelci Jager, a Certified Life Coach, Grief Coach, and Registered Nurse, found herself navigating the challenging terrain of grief when she lost her 40-year-old husband to leukemia. Left to pick up the pieces of her shattered life as a solo parent to their four sons, Kelci faced the fear of her children losing her too. However, her determination to RISE and thrive became her driving force. With a blend of professional expertise and a deeply personal journey as a widow and solo parent, Kelci possesses a strong foundation and a unique perspective. She is passionately committed to providing support and guiding others on their grief journey. For more information visit


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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
Inclusion in Recovering The Self is neither an endorsement nor a confirmation of claims presented within. Sole responsibility lies with individual contributors, not the editor, staff, or management of Recovering The Self Journal.
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