Honoring Your Feelings on September 11th

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. In this post we discuss three important things you can do to honor your feelings on September 11th.

By Momentous Institute | Sep 02, 2021
Honoring Feelings September 11

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. School children across the country will be taught about this historical event, but for many of us, this is a day that does not feel ‘historical’ at all. It is a day we remember in vivid detail. We can recall where we were, who we were with and how we felt when the attacks happened. Many of us know people who lost their lives on that day and all of us have felt the after effects of the attacks for the past 20 years.

It is common for the anniversary of a traumatic event to bring a multitude of emotions to the surface. A lot of times, these emotions can be subtle, making it seem like you are just having an inexplicably bad day or feeling like your mood is “off” for no apparent reason. Other times, these emotions can be big and feel overwhelming. On this landmark anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we will likely be hearing about it at an even greater volume than previous anniversaries, and this could cause many of us to feel overwhelmed by emotions that in the past may have been subtler. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three things you can do to help manage these emotions.

Acknowledge and Identify Your Feelings

Paying attention to our feelings is something we, as adults, should do more often. It feels easier to ignore our feelings or push them aside when they show up at inconvenient times, but instead of going away, those feelings tend to simmer until they come to a boil. When it comes to feelings that surround a specific event, it is best to acknowledge and identify the feelings in the moment. Ask yourself what exactly you are feeling and acknowledge why you are feelings these feelings. This can be as simple as spending a few minutes with your thoughts, paying attention to any emotions that surface. Rather than dismissing these emotions, you can think, “I feel ____.” Simply acknowledging the emotion is the first step to managing it. For some, journaling or talking with a loved one or a therapist can help surface these emotions.

Validate Your Feelings

Validating your feelings is very important. The September 11th attacks affected people across the United States in varying degrees. Some felt the impact and loss on a very personal level, while others felt the impact and loss from afar. No matter how impacted you were, your feelings regarding that day are valid. You are allowed to feel those feelings and you don’t have to justify why you feel them.

Give Yourself Time and Space

The closer we get to the anniversary, the more it will be in the news and showing up on social media threads, and, as mentioned earlier, it will most likely be more prominent due to the 20th anniversary. It is important to honor yourself in regard to what you can and cannot handle. If you need to limit the number of articles about the anniversary, do so. If you feel overwhelmed by your feelings on September 11th, allow yourself a few moments to take some breaths and re-center yourself. It is important that you listen to yourself and honor your needs. 

Through this process of acknowledging and validating our feelings, we are able to be patient and kind with ourselves as we navigate the emotions of this important day. No matter how the emotions surface for you, remember that your feelings are valid, and you have permission to take time and space to take care of your emotional needs.