Healing is what we hope for when we’ve experienced a loss and are grieving. We move closer to healing when we begin to accept what has happened and start to re-engage with life.
Although it seems a difficult thing to do, research has found that people who work towards accepting the loss and engaging with the new world they find themselves in are more readily able to move forward and re-establish relationships with others and the world around them. By finding a new reality and clarity in the lessons you learnt from the hard times, you’ll find yourself empowered. Some people report that the lessons learnt along the way have helped strengthen them and make them more resilient.
Dealing with the pain of your loss and your new reality can assist you in letting go and making peace with the past. Whether your loss has been symbolic, for instance, a loss of status through job loss or a divorce or an actual loss of a person whom you loved, your journey towards healing will an individual one, although there are some skills and strategies that you can use.
As you proceed on your journey to healing, be gentle on yourself. Remember, you set your own pace.
There are three things you can develop and practice to help you release your loss and resolve your grief:
Talking to a trusted person or a professional like a counselor or medical practitioner can help early after your loss as well as a later date. The person you choose should be a good listener. They should be empathic and non-judgmental. Beware of people who want to give you advice or say things like, ‘If I were you….’ because they are not you and therefore it must be your choice to do whatever needs to be done.
A person who can guide you and help you work out your options and strategies is what you need to help you talk about and release your sense of loss.
For some people, thinking through their circumstances in a systemic way is very useful. This way of thinking things through will move you along in your journey of healing by revealing often hidden thoughts and feelings about your loss.
Many people find writing and journaling valuable in facing and releasing feelings of loss and grief. Sometimes, when you’ve feeling particularly vulnerable, then writing out your thoughts and feelings is a good way of ‘sharing’ them in a private way. Perhaps at a later date, you might share your writing with a trusted person or with members of a mutual support group.
Make up your own rules about writing. You might decide to write every day, or once a week, or when the feeling takes you. Writing thoughts and feelings down – and writing them out – serves the purpose of not keeping them inside you and completing unfinished business of loss in order to move on in your journey of healing.
You can read about more ideas for skills and strategies in dealing with loss and feelings of grief in Good Grief.
Your journey towards healing means reconnecting with life and by expressing your feelings of loss, through talking, thinking and writing you can, at your own pace, exchange feelings of grief for a better understanding of yourself and your social world. This is an empowering and health-giving transaction that can lead to your ability to enjoy life again, knowing that you’ve lived through distressing times, but have emerged stronger for the experience.