First, I want to say that if your loss has happened in the last year or if feels fresh to you, stop reading this right now and go find another post read. Maybe read Being Patient with Yourself in Grief instead?
Anyone still with me?
Okay, the following idea isn’t for everyone, so I apologize right now if it offends you in any way. That is not my intention. What I want to share is something that helped me tremendously during my grief journey, but it came years after my parents died and after I had already processed most of it, but still had some lingering issues around it.
It’s pretty simple, but kind of radical.
It’s being told, “so what?”
“So what if your parents died?”
That could make you stop in your tracks, but instead of offending me or making me sad, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me.
Being asked “so what” immediately put my loss in perspective.
My loss wasn’t how I needed to identify myself.
My loss doesn’t define me.
My loss wasn’t the most interesting part of me.
My loss was a loss, but everyone experiences a loss at some point in their lives. I’m not alone in that.
Sure, that loss happened, but what else have you got?
What did you learn from it?
How did it make you a better person?
How are you helping others who have a similar loss?
How are you a different person than you were before?
How are you honoring the memory of your loved one by living your life to its fullest?
Now that you have first-hand knowledge of how precious life is, what are you doing with your precious life?
My loss shouldn’t be an excuse anymore for anything in my life that I didn’t want there.
I know that can be tough to hear. Again, if this offends you or brings up anything negative for you, then let’s just forget this ever happened.
But if it feels like a huge boulder has moved off of you, then embrace the “so what.”
What are making your loss mean about you?
What are you using your loss as an excuse for in your life?
These are tough questions, but they may hold the key to unlocking a part of your grief journey.
It certainly helped me. I saw that I was still defining myself by my loss. That I was hanging on to it as a reason for allowing things in my life that I really didn’t want like some relationships.
It gave me a sense of freedom, but also reminded me of my responsibility for my own life. I’m not a victim and my circumstances aren’t what will define me. I can choose how I will respond to my circumstances.
That can be a hard pill for some to swallow, but for me, it was worth it.