“You will get over it in time.” “You will soon feel better,” or “Don’t worry there are plenty of better jobs/better people.”
This is common advice given to people who have lost their job, their relationship, their self esteem, or worst of all someone they love. Mostly the advice is given in good faith, but in my experience none of the above statements are true or particularly helpful.
You just want to cry or scream out loud, or simply don’t know what to do with yourself. What you mostly don’t want is for your situation to be downplayed, but neither do you want to continually run through the circumstances of exactly what happened. It’s a very challenging time, where our emotions and ability to cope are stretched to the limit.
I have met a few people through our thinkmiracle retreats who have suffered the worst sort of loss or grief and they all deal with it differently. I count myself as fortunate that so far I have not lost anyone close to me. But, I did lose my business and all my money, it was long established and carried my name. I felt not only a sense of loss, but also shame. Of course, I don’t compare that to losing someone you love, in fact comparisons at a time of loss or grief are generally unhelpful.
So what can be helpful?
I don’t have all the answers by any means, but I have found the following offer some comfort:
Honesty and empathy are a good place to start, I have told a number of people that when faced with loss I have no idea how I would cope in their situation, given them a big hug, and said I feel for them. I let them know that if they want to talk about it I will give them space and listen, equally if they prefer not to talk about it, we won’t.
I do, when the time feels right, tell them a few things that have worked for other people in similar situations.
Grief or loss seems to come in waves, at times close to the event those waves threaten to overwhelm you like a small boat in a storm, but over time the size of the waves become less, and your experience in “dealing” with them makes it easier—but not easy.
So what might help to ride the storm of emotions threatening to overcome you?
Quite simply taking a walk in nature, if you are lucky enough to be near a beach that seems to be the best place, but forests, woods, mountains are not far behind. Nature has a way of changing your rhythm. You don’t need to do anything, except make a conscious effort to force yourself to take that walk to put yourself there. There are unlikely to be any magic changes, but at the end of the time you will feel a little calmer inside.
It is likely to feel hard to mediate, but do it anyway, put on a guided meditation and just allow the meditation to flow through you. There are some specific meditations for grief and loss and also many to calm your mind.
Exercise and Self-care
It’s so easy to stop looking after yourself. Little or no exercise, poor food choices, excess alcohol. Whilst some of this may feel like it’s helping in the short term, it’s simply masking the problem and ultimately making it worse. Instead set up a daily exercise routine, take care of what you eat, begin to get yourself in shape. Show yourself love.
When I was first told about the power of positive affirmations, told that what we say and what we think determines how we feel and how we live, I didn’t really believe it. But it’s so simple and so quick to do, I thought why not?
So I worked out the words that helped me after my loss and I repeated them out loud three times, and you know what? It helped, not only to make me feel better at the time, but also set me onto a path of understanding the power of words and thoughts and changing my life.
It may seem a strange time to say thank you every day for what you have in your life when you are overcome with a feeling of loss and despair. But if you can bring yourself to say thank you for the things you still have, then I promise it will begin to build a path to return to happiness. There is much research on why being thankful for what we have helps us to feel happy.
It has helped a number of people to know that death is not “the end,” it’s a rebirth or a transition to a different form. I believe that with all my heart you will meet your loved ones again.
I recommend a book by Annie Kagan, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers that has helped a number of people I know understand this process better.
A thought to end with. Often great loss or sadness can be the wake up call for our own lives, allowing us to reflect on what we really want and the brevity of time. It doesn’t seem like that at the time, but for many of us we have used the pain as a reset on where we were headed. It changed my life overwhelming for the better. It does not mean you won’t still feel a sense of loss or sadness. Accept it, say thank you for the times you had together, and focus on the good things you experienced.
I don’t want to die yet, there is still much I want to do and see on this beautiful planet. But when I do, I want everyone I know to celebrate my life. I think that’s the key to dying. Live now, as the real you, be authentic, and follow your dreams.
thinkmiracle.org talks in much more detail about all these subjects. It’s free and here to help. It’s the result of my loss and rebirth, and given with love.