The Tea Kettle: It’s Better For You to Process Your Grief

Snapshot:  This blog uses the widely accepted basic laws of physics as the foundation for explaining why processing our grief, and our emotions in general, is necessary for our health.  Using the analogy of a tea kettle, we learn that if we don’t process our emotions and grief, like a tea kettle, we may explode, catch on fire or implode.

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Everything is made of energy.  You learned this in your high school physics class.

When energy takes on physical shape, it becomes matter in the form of a gas, liquid or solid.  You also learned this in your high school physics class.

When energy does not take on a physical shape, it remains as elusive as raw, invisible energy akin to the air we breathe.  This is where emotions live. Emotions are also comprised of energy.

Now think of yourself as a body, and we will use the tea kettle to stand for your body.

The water you put in the tea kettle represents emotions. Sometimes you get happiness and joy, so you pour those into the tea kettle.  And you are a living breathing system, so this tea kettle is on the stove with the heat on at about 98 degrees. The happiness and joy don’t affect the water and the tea kettle so much because the spout is open and there’s laughter and smiles and jokes coming out of it in the form of steam.  That’s expression – the steam evaporating.

At other times, you get emotions like anger, sadness, loneliness, and abandonment.

When you get these emotions added to your tea kettle, you don’t open the spout because of the inappropriately placed shame attached to them by our society. So when you get the anger, you keep your mouth shut, and when you get the sadness, you swallow your tears.  A closed spout.

Which leads to the tea kettle blowing up.  Get it?

You can’t avoid taking water into your tea kettle.  After all, you are a kettle on a heated stove with water constantly coming in so you need to constantly let the steam out.  

This metaphor has been used by the Grief Recovery Method for years, and is also often used in self-care workshops and other modalities, to help people learn the importance of feeling their feelings in a society where emotions historically were deemed “hysterical”, and being called “emotional” was a bullet to anyone’s career.

Thankfully, with the progress our society is making towards women’s equality and the balance of masculinity and femininity overall, now we can feel our feelings without shame.  Therapists, life coaches and self-care workshops are now the norm in the Midwest as they have been on the coasts and in larger metropolitan areas.  Take advantage of this time, when we have the go-ahead to let ourselves feel, so that we can breathe, so that we can live the best life possible.