Grief and loss are a very normal part of being human, yet it is something we never want to have to face in our lives. In fact, we do everything we can to avoid it. Loss can be losing someone we love either to death or an ending of a relationship, ending a job, moving to a new place, or letting go of old behaviors and ways of thinking that we thought were serving us.
Grieving is the key to freedom and to being able to stay more present in our lives and relationships. When we allow the grief to pass through we release something that was in the way of us experiencing our True Self and it brings incredible peace. So, I say, let’s learn how to stay with it and get to the other side rather that keep piling it on.
Why are we so afraid of it? What makes it so hard? When we have a loss in our lives it brings up all previous loss that we have had and have not faced. It can feel like a title wave that comes through over and over again. The grief itself is actually not as difficult as we anticipate it.
Also, the grief process is not linear, it comes and goes in waves and its elements of denial, sadness, bargaining, anger and acceptance as defined by Kubler-Ross, can hit at any time and it cycles over and over until the pain, the loss has transformed. That is if we stay with it.
The first year after a loss if the biggest. Events, memories, places, people can trigger the loss memory and although painful, it gives us the opportunity to grieve the next layer. Often times we want to flee instead of process the pain. It is recommended if we can do it, to stay put and stay with it.
Childhood loss and grief can be buried under all the other loss in our life. And if we lost ourselves during our childhood there can be loss of life, our own life when have been giving our selves away or when our true selves have been frozen from trauma in our earlier life.
Learning to recognize the grief. What does it look like? If we can recognize it then we have a choice about whether to be with it or to distract ourselves from it. Often, we act out instead of lean into the grief. The acting out are coping strategies and we all have our preferred coping strategies that we use to act out, distract ourselves from the grief. Here are just a few you may resonate with. Binge TV watching, eating when we don’t need food, sugar, nicotine, alcohol, sex, drugs, anger and blame towards others, focusing on others rather than ourselves.
Once we recognize it we make a choice to be with it. How do we “be with it”? We let go of the story as of it as much as we can, we take a time out to be with this part of ourselves, we get support if it’s too much to bear and we lean into the pain and discomfort.
How do we lean into the pain and discomfort? We feel where it is in the body and we look at it straight and say “I welcome you, I’m glad you’re here, I’m interested in what you are feeling”.
Here are some helpful tools for grieving:
- Supportive people who know how to grieve themselves
- A journal
- A Higher Power
- Your own internal Loving Parent
- Soothing activities: hot tea, hot bath, beautiful nature walk and any other that works for you
- Your favorite stuffed animal
- Tissue boxes
I help people every day in my practice with processing grief. Not just when the loss occurs but old losses as well. If you chose to do your grief work with me, I will guide you through the process and I will witness your loss and pain. You will end up with more of yourself that was hidden behind the unprocessed grief. It you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment call me at 720-504-8172.