Updated: May 7
Blog 4: Grief
This is a hard subject matter to discuss. Grief is a challenging, painful and difficult lesson in life that takes almost everything that you have to move through it.
This is a lesson in life that many don't even want to deal with because it is so painful. Once you let yourself feel the grief it's sometimes almost impossible to stop it.
Grief can feel confusing even. At times we feel consumed in sadness and pain, to feeling fine yet something doesn't feel right. Grief itself is just the holding onto the memory of what was or what could have been rather than just a singular feeling. Grief happens to us for many reasons. We can experience grief through the loss of a person, place or thing. Grief over the ending of any kind of relationship. Grief of something working out for you. Grief over an old version of yourself and so much more. Many tend to focus the grief as a physical loss rather than an emotional circumstance and I believe this is why so many people are walking around unhealed as we were never taught that emotions are so important for us to explore, let alone how many kinds of emotions there are out there.
Emotions themselves are expressed and experienced differently for everyone. We just have been able to describe them into various categories based upon general majority consensus. Emotions are truly the greatest tool that we have to help us understand ourselves and get us to take the time to go within. They are however misguiding if we are failing to take control over them.
Let's look at grief. Everyone in life has experienced grief, even that small child that lost a toy or their pet gold fish died will have experienced grief in some way shape or form. The level of which we experience grief however will impact the way we respond to life greatly. Grief is a byproduct of a traumatic experience. Period. It is caused by something that is traumatic. If it wasn't traumatic it really wouldn't be categorized as grief. It might just be considered a loss. True grief causes us much suffering and pain and is usually a response to the loss of something that once brought us joy. This is truly the difference of experiencing grief as opposed to a set-back or obstacle in life.
We tend to categorize grief as losing something or someone in our life. You loved that person/thing so much and now they are gone for whatever reason and it causes you much pain and suffering. Perhaps causing us to feel abandonment wounds or rejection wounds. You wouldn't be as upset if you didn't have a deeper attachment or feelings towards this thing to cause you this feeling of grief. With that clear distinction it will obviously cause us much more pain than experiencing a different sort of painful emotion generally.
Everyone heals in various stages in life. Once we are able to accept that the situation has in fact happened only then can we start the journey of healing from grief. Many fail at the very first step because it is so painful. We either avoid it all together by never accepting it and just pushing ourselves to focus on anything and everything else or we are consumed in our feelings yet failing to actually get to the bottom of processing them because we are still failing to accept the reality.
There are several different stages of grief that we can experience. I won't go over them but here is a great resource that is easy to understand and lays out the types of feelings that one can experience that I found from my alma mater. https://www.washington.edu/counseling/2020/06/08/the-stages-of-grief-accepting-the-unacceptable/#:~:text=Grief%20is%20typically%20conceptualized%20as,%2C%20bargaining%2C%20depression%2C%20acceptance.
Like anyone else experiencing grief I have felt every single one of those emotions before. I chose to be in denial mostly that my healing journey took me many years to work through years of traumatic losses that all ended in feelings of grief. The most painful part of grieving is this sense of feeling alone, like no one else fully understands how you are feeling in that moment. Even if others around you are experiencing the same loss, it just feels uniquely your own way. We can at times compare our grief to others which is so wild and honestly unhealthy that causes us to become cynical and angry at the world and people who don't deserve our negative projections.
This one blog will not be able to cover this difficult subject of grief as a whole but to focus on this series of discussing emotions and how they can be beneficial to us. I hope that we can unpack some of the issues that arise through grief and what valuable lessons they serve us. Grief in many ways just happens. There isn't always a reason for why things happen and it happens to be one of life's great mysteries. Many people who believe in God or think that they do tend to get caught up on why would God cause this suffering. It seems cruel and unkind. The lesson itself is that it should transform you in some way. It causes you to wake up to life. Things just happen but it is more about what you do when those things arise that makes your outcome different. We are meant to suffer in this world. It is a part of life. Grief generally allows you to let one part of yourself die so that something new can emerge. It is through deep suffering that causes some of the most profound changes in our lives when we are finally willing to accept it and then take the necessary steps to heal it.
This journey is not easy nor is it short. It puts you through the test of time to show you what can be possible. I have never heard of a great success story that didn't encounter some form of great loss. Look at successful people like Elon Musk who nearly lost his entire net worth and company to become one of the most influential people in the world. He had to lose things in his personal life, respect from others who thought he was crazy and so much more but he never gave up on his belief in something. He cared very deeply and was able to turn that negative into a positive. Or what about J.K. Rowling who had a slew of grief stories from the death of her mom to raising her child by herself to becoming one of the most successful authors of all time. Or what about Oprah Winfrey who suffered the loss of her own innocence from being sexually assaulted and having to run away on her own to becoming the first ever Black female billionaire.
These stories aren't meant to be like, hey get over your loss but they are to show you what is possible. That sometimes the universe pushes us to let go of things that can no longer come along with us. They are to help us transform ourselves to push us beyond what we thought was once possible. Many people I hear explain that it made them more resilient, less afraid to try or showed them what they were made of. It most certainly didn't happen over night but it was part of their journey that helped them to see how temporary life is and that we are in fact in control of how we live our life. It is ok to grieve what once was but if you are living in a state of grief without living life anymore, you aren't living are you? There is no correct timeline of how long one should grieve but the bigger question is how long will it take you to let yourself live life again?
We only scratched the surface in this blog about grief but I hope that you can go within to confront what you still might be holding onto to help yourself finally confront it and let it go so you can make space for something new and beautiful to emerge. It probably won't be what you thought or even expected, it will be exactly what you needed and that is always something better than you ever could have imagined.
As always keep shifting your perspectives and finding the delights in every day moments.
Love and Light,