How to reconnect from grief and find healing can be easier said than done but it is possible. To do so will take courage, commitment, and action and often healing from your grief takes detective work. I can say this because sometimes your deep grief isn’t always about your recent loss. It can be an accumulation of many losses that have built up along the way. A death can shatter your very core, cracking your foundation. It can also be an opportunity for transformation if you allow your grief to do its work. This can help you rebuild your life by reconnecting you to you and is an opportunity for to rebuild your foundation from the ground up.
12 processes to go through in order to heal from your loss.
- Going into grief’s abyss
- Learning how to climb out
- Identifying thoughts that cause heartache
- Making peace with your past
- Forgiving ourselves and others
- Finding your values
- Discovering your needs
- Restoring your balance
- Practicing daily gratitude
- Recognizing what’s important
- Creating new meaning
- Rewriting your new chapter in your book of life
1. Going into Grief’s Abyss
The only way through your grief is by delving into it and not avoiding it by stuffing your emotions down. Even excess working, working out, drinking, smoking, gambling, drugs or eating create avoidance. Please give yourself permission to be and feel your emotions.
- Learning How to Climb Out
Learning how to climb out can be done by talking about your loss, this helps to make it more real and brings you out of denial. Chose a good friend or family member, join a support group or get help from a therapist or grief coach to help guide you. Often it is your thoughts on the past and how things used to be that can cause you pain and suffering.
- Identify Thoughts that cause your Heartache
Very often it is the guilt you may feel over what you may or may not have done, perhaps you are angry and blame others perhaps there is resistance. It is a good time to journal to find out just which thoughts you are continually or habitually thinking and talking about. Instead ask yourself if it is guilt what or how things would have turned out differently, this works well with blame thoughts. If you are thinking angry thoughts, this could be masking a deep fear.
- Making Peace with your Past
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, your present grief may be lingering or un-dealt with grief from previous losses. This is an opportunity to heal these at this time. Often these un-dealt losses will wait for an opportunity such as a major loss before making themselves known. That might be why your grief over this loss is much more than you thought it should be. What losses have you had and not dealt with?
- Forgiving yourself and Others
Yes, this can be easier said than done. Forgiving yourself could be releasing yourself from those guilt feelings you have. Guilt is really shaming at what you have or haven’t done (go back to #3 and journal on these thoughts). You did what you did, no need to beat yourself up. Take this as a learning opportunity. You now have additional information of how you could handle things a little differently next time. No judgments required. The Ho’oponopono Hawaiian prayer is a wonderful way to release and find forgiveness.
- Finding Your Values
Your values are those attributes you are born with and there are times when you can discount your true values for a number of reasons. If honesty is one, and you saw a friend stealing something, your choice is to say something to your friend, report it or say nothing. If you chose to say nothing you are going against your true values. This can weaken your self-esteem and your confidence in your abilities. Your values can help you to regain your self-esteem and help you gain resilience to assist you through your grief.
- Discovering your Needs
Too often we do not know what our needs even are. This is especially true for a woman who often gives up their needs to keep the peace within the family unit. Determining what your true needs are is a way to help you cope with your grief. If you relied on your husband or wife for something to meet your need, i.e., company, cooking or finances. Then if they have died, you will find yourself in more pain over having to learn how to do these things yourself. List your needs and find ways you yourself can meet them. If you do you will find this helps to build resilience and aids in healing your grief.
- Restoring your Balance
Restoring your balance is where you decide when to spend your time grieving, this is important to do, however, sometime, you may need to set time limits.
Once you welcoming in your sadness and allow the tears, sit with them and allow. You will find that they will dissipate quickly once they have been welcomed in to do their job. It is so OK to laugh during the grieving period, this is healthy and your body needs to laugh so it can bring your emotions back into balance. Not able to laugh, then put on a funny movie or listen to a comedy show. There is also such a thing as laughter yoga. Be alert and welcome in all of your emotions.
- Practice Daily Gratitude
Too often when you are grieving you are focused on the past or future, however, it is in the present that you can find your peace. Finding 3-5 things daily that you are grateful for can help you to feel better about yourself and focuses your thinking away from your loss. Yes, it is good to focus some of your thoughts on your loss but you will need a time out so you can help your body regain its emotional balance.
- Recognizing what’s Important
Too often when you are focused on your loss and grieving, it is easy to lose sight of what things you did that made you feel good. You may have found that eating healthy meals and going to the gym made you feel good so these things would be important for you to continue. Perhaps spending time with a good friend chatting over coffee and talking about things other than your grief used to help you. Finding what helped you to feel good is important enough to keep doing them. Make a list for yourself and begin to bring a few of these routines back into your life.
- Creating New Meaning
When you can begin to create new meaning for the death, your loss you can begin to heal your broken heart. Lewis Caroll wrote in his book Alice in Wonderland as Alice saying “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was different then” I believe this quote says it all. You cannot go back or look back but now need to look at today and your future eventually without that person. You may create a legacy for the person, write a poem or a book, you may want to support others who are grieving. This is how you can begin to find new meaning their life and for your new life after your loss.
- Re-writing your New Chapter in your Book of Life
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves,” Viktor Frankl wrote. With a death and subsequent loss, it is as if that chapter in your life book has been ripped out, leaving the chapters before and after not quite making sense. You have come through the “Ending” you are now in “Transition” and life here can appear shades of grey because the “New Beginnings” hasn’t quite come into being. This is where you get to choose what you want your new life to look like.
What is Grief Healing About
Grief healing is about understanding your grief, knowing where you want to go and taking action. Grieving is hard work because it is tearing down walls that have been built up through resistance to change. You may feel vulnerable and unable to control your life in the beginning. Healing is about learning and knowing about the pitfalls that can keep you stuck.
You have a choice now, to heal your loss, forgive and accept the past so as to move and create your future. A future where you can live fully. It is time to let go of unfinished business; you will come out of grief renewed if you allow it to do its job. The real transformation or alchemy happens when you allow yourself to reconnect from your grief and live your own life. Wouldn’t your loved one want this of you?
If you get Stuck – Here’s how to connect with me
If you find yourself stuck just know I have created 5 ways to assist you. You can purchase my book Grief’s Abyss Finding your Pathway to Peace and download the workbook to use and go through it on your own (details on annedebutte.com). Join the closed Facebook Page “Let’s talk about Grief”(contact me and I can add you). Get the support of a therapist or grief guide and coach and work 1:1 with me. (check out reconnect-rom-grief.com). Sign up for an upcoming workshop (to be announced in 2017). Join my support groups (held in Manotick). Many more opportunities are coming in the New Year. I do hope to connect with you if I can guide and serve you further.