They say grief comes in stages, but I feel it comes more in waves. Grief can take on many faces, it can appear as anger, as sadness, and as fear, but regardless of its form, grief can be difficult to move through.
Grief is often the emotion that follows after loss, this could be the loss of a loved one, a relationship/marriage, a dream, a career, or even a way of life. Where there is a major loss, grief usually follows in varying intensities and levels.
From a deeper perspective, grief is not just about the loss of a person or thing, it is also about the part of you that has also be lost, the part of you that was connected and attached to what is no longer present in your life.
Often the process of loss causes you to lose a part of yourself as well, but this “lost” part of you is not forever missing. In fact, this lost part of you is what is up for transformation and renewal.
When moving through the heavier sides of grief, it can be hard to see how any “good” can come from it and it can be hard to see the deeper transformation at work, but it is likely that when you still your mind, you will be able to feel something bubbling away behind the surface.
You don’t have to try and understand it or make sense of it straight away, but often loss does occur in order to pave the way for something new, not so much on an external level but on an internal level.
Usually when something or someone significant departs from your life, there is a natural transformation that follows that leads you to understanding yourself, your life and your purpose on a whole new level. And this is something that will always be revealed in time.
But in the meantime, here are some suggestions that can help you to move through feelings of grief and loss-
1.) Think About What You Have Gained
Because grief is associated with loss, it is easy to focus your attention on all the things you have lost during the process.
When big loss happens in our lives, there are usually hundreds of little losses that go along with it as well. While it is fine to acknowledge these, if you find yourself getting caught up in “loss” consider switching your thoughts to what you have gained instead. What new things have you gained through this process?
For example, if you have lost a loved one, perhaps you can think about the fact that you have gained a new guardian angel, or you have gained a new perspective on life and death. You may have even gained a new lease on life.
Just the same, if you have lost a career that you have worked your whole life to achieve, you could focus on the fact that you have now gained a new opportunity to try something else or to learn new skills.
This exercise is not going to change the loss that has occurred, but it will help you shift your mindset to focus on something more positive and this will help you to feel better.
2.) Allow Yourself to Feel
As mentioned earlier, grief often brings up a wave of emotions in varying intensities. It is very important through this process that you allow yourself to feel what you need to feel.
When a painful emotion arises, it is almost our instinct to resist it, but this is actually counterintuitive. Instead, the more you embrace these painful emotions and lean into them, the easier they are to overcome.
What you resist persists, which means that it is far better to give yourself permission to feel the emotions wholeheartedly than to push them away.
When you allow the emotion to wash over you, when you give yourself permission to feel, it is amazing how quickly it then dissipates.
After a loss has taken place in your life, making the time to feel your emotions and go through this process is important.
Depending on what loss has occurred in your life, you may also find this cord cutting ritual helpful.
3.) Find Forgiveness
Loss is usually associated with feelings of guilt on some level. This guilt can come from both sides, or from all angles of the situation. In order to release these feelings, it is important to practice forgiveness.
Forgive yourself, forgive others and forgive the situation. By doing so, it can help you to feel at peace with your life and the recent loss that has occurred.
To help you with this, here is a short exercise you can do:
Close your eyes and place your hand over your heart. Take 3-4 deep breaths here just to still your mind. Repeat quietly to yourself 7 times- “I forgive you, I am sorry this happened, but it’s ok”.
Once you have completed this exercise, you can then use it to forgive someone else in your life as well. Simply repeat the same phrase but add their name, for example- “I forgive you (name), I am sorry this happened (name), but it’s ok.”
This is a very powerful exercise to do especially when you are dealing with the loss of a loved one or the collapsing of a relationship or marriage.