Have you experienced great loss in the last year?
Are you struggling to push past the most intense feelings of grief? Feeling angry, sad, or confused about a layoff or transformation that has created upheaval?
This blog is dedicated to helping you recover from a significant loss in your life. This could be the loss of a loved one or close friend. It could be the loss of a job you were deeply attached to. It might be the decline or closing of a business that you founded or helped build. No matter what you have lost, the feelings can be overwhelming and hard to recover from.
There is value in you exploring different techniques to cope with and overcome the immense pain of grieving. You can learn from these feelings and emerge stronger, resulting in more resilience from this experience.
I. Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step in navigating the depths of your grief is acknowledging the full range of surface emotions — sadness, anger, guilt, relief, or even joy — that you are probably experiencing. Permit yourself to feel ALL these emotions if and when they show up. If you need a guide to help you identify and clear the emotions, use a tool called “The 5 Stages of Grief” from the late Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. This is one of the most effective tools, built for self-awareness and accelerated recovery.
The 5 Stages of Grief are:
Dr. Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the internationally best-selling book On Death and Dying (1969). Allowing yourself to embrace all emotions, understanding that they are all okay, even when they feel uncomfortable, is the path that will allow them to pass. What you resist will persist.
Writing your emotions down or talking about them with someone objective, like a therapist or coach that you trust, can assist with emotional release.
II. Honor the Memories
Instead of suppressing memories of the past and uncomfortable emotions, allow yourself to cherish and honor them. Share stories, walk down memory lane, create a memorial, or engage in activities that remind you of the person, job, or aspect of your life that was lost. Use affirmations to help your mind “shift” away from negative emotions and into a mindset that is learning and growth-oriented. This can be a powerful and healing way to keep the connection while honoring the past.
Use these affirmations to help you shift your mindset:
From the loss of a loved one. Today, I reflect and receive a blessing from knowing those I love, even for a short while. I remind myself to turn my tears of sorrow into joy for the wonderful memories of loved ones who have passed on.
From the loss of a job. Today, I reflect and receive a blessing from knowing that I have grown from this experience and helped many people while I held this position. I have gained experience, knowledge, skills, and relationships that will support my ongoing success now and in the future.
III. Rewrite the Negative Stories
Feelings of guilt, blame, or regret are common when grieving. We find ways to question or blame ourselves for the loss. You also may have moments where you recall situations and try to find clues to help explain why the person had to die or why you were laid off or fired. If you are experiencing a major transformation at work, you may be angry and want to pinpoint the decisions and decision-makers. This is all thinking and energy that can be transmuted and used for motivation when we release negative connotations and blame. Learning to rewrite these negative stories, reframe the thought patterns that are keeping you stuck, and focus on the positive aspects of the relationship or situation can help you start to move forward.
How can I keep positive memories at the forefront of my thoughts?
What am I grateful for related to this person or experience?
How can I be of assistance to others around me who aren’t as accepting of loss as I am?
Where can I shift my energy so that it is productive and focused on healing?
How am I managing my time and energy?
Am I exercising enough?
Am I getting enough fresh air and nature?
Am I balancing my time on social media with live interactions with people who care about me and who I care about?
IV. Accept What is Real
The harsh reality of life is that loss is inevitable, and as human beings, we must learn to accept it. This means coming to terms with the fact that things will never be the same again. In the face of loss, we are often in denial and wish things would return to the way they were. Accepting the reality of your situation not only helps you move through grief but also sets the stage for growth and rebirth.
Use these affirmations to help you shift your mindset:
I can overcome the pain of losing ___________.
I acknowledge the pain that comes with losing someone I love.
I acknowledge the pain that comes with losing a job that was a significant part of my personal identity.
I am not my job; I am a whole person with great value outside of work.
When it feels as if a part of my existence vanished with this loss, I accept change as a natural progression through life and use that acceptance to help me heal and move onward.
Although the healing process is challenging, I know I have the strength to get through this.
Forgiveness is often a crucial step in the healing process. Learn to forgive yourself. Be willing to forgive others. If needed, forgive God and the universe for whatever happened that led to the loss.
Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting but rather unburdening your heart and soul from the chains of bitterness or resentment.
Try using the Hawaiian Forgiveness Prayer, also known as Ho’oponopono, to help you focus, forgive, and heal. It starts with a simple four-phrase mantra to shift you into a state of love and openness to move out of negativity. This is called a prayer because the four phrases help you connect to God (or your higher power) to ask for help “erasing” the memories and thoughts in you that are keeping you in a state of suffering.
Step 1: Say the following four phrases out loud or to yourself: I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.
Step 2: Write out the “erasing” requests with thoughts you have that need healing. Example: Erase the memories in me that keep me in a state of suffering. Erase the memories in me that make me angry. Erase the memories in me that contribute to my being stuck and unable to move on.
VI. Embrace Healing for Yourself
Finally, earnestly commit to your healing journey. This might involve seeking professional help, joining support groups, or finding healthy outlets like exercise, meditation, or creative endeavors that uplift your spirit. Practice self-compassion and patience, as healing is an ongoing process. As you embark on this journey, you will emerge stronger, wiser, and more resilient than before.
Navigating the depths of grief can be a challenging yet transformative experience. By acknowledging your feelings, accepting reality, honoring memories, rewriting negative stories, forgiving, and embracing healing for yourself, you can recover from loss and eventually find a new sense of purpose and meaning in life.
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