Many don’t understand grief and what it takes away
Have you ever lost a job, gone through a divorce, relocated, experienced a major financial change, or had someone close to you die? Are you aware, due to these experiences, you may have experienced grief? Can you identify what grief may have taken from you?
If you have ever experienced an emotional loss of any kind, there is a very good chance you have experienced grief. In many Western cultures, our minds are conditioned to believe grief applies only to death or divorce. For that reason, many do not understand there are other causes of grief, what grief can take away from them, and how it can negatively impact an individual’s ability to enjoy life and their capacity for happiness – as the complete person they were, before the event happened.
Many individuals, who have not experienced the death of a loved one, can overlook their buried emotions, their grief. They can be unaware the completion of any unfinished business could be hindering them from recovering from the pain of their altered life situations or loss. Furthermore, they may not be aware that by discovering stored emotions and applying four, specific steps they may have the ability to reclaim their happiness.
The following will delve a bit further into other causes of grief and how grief may manifest itself in your life – helping you to recognize the affects and become aware. I will briefly touch on the philosophies I work closely with and how what I do may help you or others suffering from grief – all with the intent to take back complete control of your life.
What is grief
It is important to begin with an understanding of the definition of grief. According to The Grief Recovery Institute, grief is the normal and natural reaction to any emotional loss. Grief is also the conflicting feelings caused by the end of, or change in, a familiar pattern of behaviour.
There are over 40 reasons why an individuals may grieve and many do not include the death of a loved one. Reasons for grief can include divorce, moving, graduating, emotional trauma resulting from abuse, and estrangements. Without specific and proven action, an individual can spin endlessly in a cycle of grief, unaware there is a way to discover and complete what has been left emotionally unfinished.
Most grief is the result of something we wished had been better, different, or more. The unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations and finally things we wished we had said, things we said which we felt were never heard, or those things we wished we had the opportunity to say again. When The Grief Recovery Method refers to completion it is in reference to this unfinished business.
Why is it harmful
Our bodies were never meant to act as an emotional storage facility but were designed to process our emotions. We do not store happiness or excitement; we experience it. Why then would we store grief?
When buried and ignored our grief can manifest physically and emotionally. We can become sick, distracted, and unproductive. Feeling misunderstood by family and friends we can isolate ourselves and step away from much of our day-to-day life. Pushing down our grief uses a lot of energy. It can be likened to trying to hold beach balls below the surface of the water. When we least expect it, the balls slip from our grasp and break the surface of the water. Eventually we must face, experience and process our emotions…our grief.
Are there stages
Individuals may experience grief with the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, the death of a pet, or retirement and without the proper tools to process their grief, sadness can seem like the new normal. This does not have to be so.
It is important to note there are not a set of stages of grief but rather emotions or symptoms grievers may, or may not, experience. Some common responses are a lack of concentration, a sense of numbness, a change in eating or sleeping habits, or a roller coaster of unexpected and misunderstood emotions.
Recovering from Grief
Forgetting the past is not the goal of recovery. Completing unfinished business is. The Grief Recovery Method is an alternative to traditional therapy. Grievers unlearn what they think they know, or understand about, grief and they are introduced to four correct action steps accompanied by, if they choose, the support of a Grief Recovery Specialist. The four steps include
- recognizing the losses in your life;
- identifying the events or relationships which feel incomplete;
- breaking undelivered communications into three categories; and
- writing and reading aloud, to another living person, a very specific letter
Allowing yourself to identify and process these emotions allows you to reclaim yourself. You will not forget positive memories nor any painful memories if they apply. The goal of The Grief Recovery Method is to allow you to complete the emotions attached to the negative memories. In the case of the loss of a loved one, you may still experience a time of sadness because the goal of recovery is not to forget but to change how these memories affect your perception and ability to move forward. Grief recovery provides the tools to help you step back into the fullness of life.
Last, but certainly not least, The Grief Recovery Institute believes grievers do not lack courage; they may only lack the appropriate tools and information to process their grief. Grief is cumulative with the ability to negatively impact an individual’s capacity for happiness. Completion is the result of having delivered emotional communication, knowing what needs to be said and doing so, and releasing any pain which may be limiting the possibilities within the future. This is the opportunity to release preoccupying thoughts.
Awareness is the first step. Having a clear definition of the word grief allows you to be aware you even have hidden grief. Understanding there are over 40 possible reasons to experience grief and knowing perhaps the reason you are feeling so tired or unresponsive could be the result of one or more of these events. Finally accessing these correct tools and information allows you to not only discover but accept and complete any unfinished business.