Unfortunately, grief is as much a part of life as happiness. This sounds horribly glib, but I ask that you trust me on this truth. You can’t have light without darkness. Happiness doesn’t exist without grief.
Grief can dismantle your life in small, incendiary ways. You may start to neglect those that are close to you and still need your attention and love. Your work and even your health can suffer. Learning how to handle grief in a positive way is a hard won lesson.
While most people associate grief with the loss of a loved one who has died, it’s not the only cause. Grief can come in many forms and it affects every person differently. Whether it is divorce, a loss of a job or relationship… we forget to honor the fact that grief is something we experience all throughout our lives.
Yet, grief can actually provide the seeds for happiness, if you know how to nurture them.
During times of grief, there are things you can do to honor your pain, and give yourself grace. Being mindful of the tiny movements forward you can make, even during your hardest moments.
- Be grateful. Starting a gratitude journal can give you a moment of peace, and allow you to recognize the good moments…even when you feel like life is a devastating blow. List all the things that are good in your life, even the smallest of moments…did you laugh at your favorite show? Have a good dinner? Found a moment to rest? Focusing on the positive lessens the blow of grief.
- Make it a habit to spend 5 minutes each day listing the good things about that day.
- Focus on the things you can control. We spend so much of our lives worrying over things beyond our control. When we are faced with grief, our emotions are uncontrollable, so we want to fix everything around us. Control makes us feel safe.
- This is time and energy that’s simply wasted. Enjoy your loved ones. Spend time with them making new memories and moving forward.
- Focus on the people you still have in your life. Your relationships will change during this time. Some new people will come into your life, as other friendships may falter during this time. Focus on the people who are there for you. Let your loved ones know just how much they mean to you.
- Keeping in contact with your family and friends who showed up during your dark times is crucial. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable and accept the love and help you need. These relationships will only grow stronger for it.
- Rely on your friends and family for support. The friends that support you during your hardest and darkest moments are also the people that will stand with you in the sun. That’s why old war buddies are always there for each other. It’s same reason why doctors remain close with their former medical school classmates. Friendships are bonded as we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other. Life is not always a party. Surround yourself with the people who will sit with you in the shadows.
- Sharing your grief with others is a strong bonding experience. It’s one more opportunity to bring positivity to difficult times.
- Honor the memory. Do something in memory of your loved one if you are grieving a loss. Did they adore children? Perhaps you could volunteer with a local children’s charity. What were some of their favorite activities? Make their favorite meal. Watch their favorite movie or go see their favorite band!
- Allow the grief to turn into something positive. Spend some time considering what’s important in your life and take this time to allow grief to heal you and create strength you didn’t know you had. Perhaps you’ll spend more time with your children, take that Mediterranean cruise, or move closer to your family. You will find that petty, mundane things in life are no longer important to you.
Everyone is forced to deal with grief at some point in their life. It’s challenging, but taking these steps will both lessen the grief and enable you to find some healing during this time. Go slowly, but keep moving in a positive direction. There are some good things to be found during times of grief….even if you can’t see it now my friend.
I promise you this. With grief always comes grace.