To Feel or Not to Feel?

I cringe to admit how many years of my life Memorial Day has been a nice 3-day weekend and not much more than a nod to those who have fallen while serving our country. 

But not this year. This year I feel reverential down to my bones for Memorial Day.

Several boys I’ve known since they were toddlers are in the military.

I’m the mom of a first responder and know that at any moment, I could lose my beloved son as he serves and protects.

As a therapist, I see firsthand the wounds to our soldiers’ mental health. It’s heartbreaking to witness up close the personal price that some of our military personnel pay for their service.

Basically, I’m a hot mess with all my feelings about what is happening in the world right now. So much to be furious about, so much to be heartbroken over, so much cause for worry.

At the same time, there is goodness in people everywhere when I look up close. As a therapist who has a close-up view of people’s families, I see so much dedication, love, sacrifice, and caring in my clients and readers.

It can feel a little crazy-making with the whiplash of emotion throughout the day as I bounce back and forth between the news and the up-close version of people’s lives.

Please hear me when I say this:

Feeling all of the feelings, including the ones that are wildly contradictory to one another, is an essential part of feeling fully alive. It’s not crazy. It’s normal. It’s a gift that we are capable of feeling the full spectrum of emotions. Mad and happy. Sad and grateful. Yes, they can and do go together.

This Memorial Day weekend, I invite you to feel the full spectrum of what it is to be fully alive by doing a Flow of Feelings. Whether you say it out loud to a friend or journal it for yourself, try going through this list. No long explanations or rambling, just feelings. It can feel good. It can be incredibly connecting to do with someone close to you.

In the video below, I give an example of walking through eight different feelings using a model created by Dr. Laurel Mellin.

  • Mad
  • Sad
  • Scared
  • Guilt/regret
  • Happy
  • Grateful
  • Secure
  • Proud

With honor and respect for those who have died in service.

With honor and love for those who have died by other means.

With love for those who are grieving.

With hope that we can all give ourselves permission to live fully alive, feeling it all.


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Kerry Stutzman MSW, LMFT

My passion is helping my clients develop close, connected families and healthy relationships. For the past 20 years I have been helping people discover the best version of themselves.  Learn more

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My specialty is couples therapy with parents. I also have expertise in parenting, betrayal recovery, and addiction.  Learn more

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My focus includes trauma, attachment, anxiety, depression, and relational work; including a focus on children and teens, parents, and couples.  Learn more

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Amy Cobb MS Family/Human Development

I specialize in working with parents and caregivers with children from cradle to college, with special focus from birth – 10 years old. Learn more

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