Recently, I was recording with a podcast host and was asked to share one thing listeners could do after listening to the episode. It could be something helpful, a tip, etc. Rather than sharing a tip, two questions came to mind that, in a nutshell, help us to name areas of grief in our lives and those were:
What do you wish (about your life) would be different, better, or more?
Where in your life do you have a loss of hopes, dreams, or expectations?
As I have been reflecting on that conversation, there is another way I would challenge you to ask those questions.
What breaks my heart?
What breaks my heart lately is knowing how fleeting time truly is.
Time was also an aspect of the conversation with the host that has gotten me thinking about my relationship with time.
The first question the host asked me was how I felt at that moment, which was unexpected. All the same, I appreciated the question. My response was that I was feeling overwhelmed.
I know the next eight weeks of my life will feel like a time warp; I already feel like I’m in some time machine. Time is moving so fast that it’s challenging to get my bearings, to feel grounded and centered, and amid the excitement, joy, grief, and feelings of overwhelm, there’s a strong desire to make it all come to a complete stop. However, there is no stopping it.
Many events are happening between now and mid-May, when our oldest child will graduate from high school. And I think it’s all starting to hit us. And what’s breaking my heart the most these days is that our family dynamics will soon change. One of our “pack” will leave to start a new chapter of life, shaking up our sense of “home.” And, I think to myself…”My God, if this is what it feels like when one leaves the next, how will I ever deal with the last one leaving the nest?”
Parenthood brings up all of the childhood junk we’ve yet to address in our hearts, and what comes up for us changes with the tides of parenting life. And what if you never had the opportunity to be a parent? Or, what if you had the opportunity to be a parent but, because of any number of scenarios, the child passed away before being allowed to see them leave the nest and spread their wings?
There is grief – no matter which way you dice it.
So what’s been breaking my heart?
Knowing that my family is approaching change and what will that change mean? How will that change affect each of us individually? I can say that I’ve already noticed small shifts – in a good way. I feel as though communication has improved. We are almost trying to squeeze the juice of each day a little more. These are good things. However, is my heart still breaking? Of course.
I know change is a necessary part of life. Without change, we would remain stagnant; growth would be a foreign concept. Changes that bring challenges are an opportunity to look within ourselves.
It’s a poignant question to dig deep into yourself today. Give yourself an intentional 15 minutes, and immerse yourself in the gift of time to uncover something simmering below the surface emotionally.
Break the habit of thinking that the solution to your problems is to rearrange things outside. The only permanment solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problesm with reality. – From The Untethered Soul
Today, I thought I would speak about what I do, how I’m different, and the type of client I resonate most with.
What I Do
Through grief healing programs, I walk you through the process of being leashed to grief – to being unleashed and emotionally free.
Through online and in-person programs, trailblazers like you realize that the one area of your life that’s always had a background presence is the one area you’ve also never addressed (i.e., grief). You have not connected the dots that loss, suffering, and grief have negatively impacted your life. But, you recognize that the chip on your shoulder, the poison (i.e., resentment) you’re drinking, hoping the other person dies, and the anger that’s been stewing from years past isn’t helping you live the life you envisioned for yourself. You know it could be better; you just haven’t found the how.
That’s where I come in – empowering and equipping you to help yourself.
There is no magic pill, and what I have to offer isn’t that. However, it does feel like a magical formula that works in magical ways in your life. When paired together, I believe I have found two programs that will be the key to you becoming unleashed from your past and unlocking your future. They have certainly done that for me. And I have already seen amazing results for my clients. While the Grief Recovery Method® was the light at the end of the dark tunnel (the hope and guidance they needed to leave the pain in the rearview), YouMap® was the lantern that has illuminated their path forward.
With empathy as my number one strength and the driver of my life, my approach is heart-centered. Please take a peek at my own YouMap® and, it’s clear to me that I am fully aligned in the work that I do with every service I offer, including Reiki and End-of-Life services (which I have yet to bring to the forefront). What brings me fulfillment is being of service in a meaningful way. I love helping others unlock their own potential, and, for the vast majority of us, the secret sauce is addressing the very stuff of our hearts we try so desperately to avoid or bury. And, an area of service I have yet to share fully is to help those dying die in a way that honors their wishes, helps them and their loved ones feel supported, and provide guidance for end-of-life, in general. There’s so much to share I haven’t even gotten to yet!
On a final note that supports what I do, I am the only Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist in the world certified as a YouMap® coach and vice versa. And, because 1 in 33 million people share the same top 5 strengths as me (or you), it is a particular skill-set I bring to grievers and those who want to uplevel their lives (and, in turn, their energy).
Be The Trailblazer of Your Life
The trailblazer is the go-getter, the do-er, a maverick, of sorts. You know you’re meant for more but have found yourself, year after year, stuck in the same old patterns of behavior that, well, keep you stuck. You may be the CEO of your home, wrangling all of the kids to their activities, all the while, you’re time is consumed by PTO/PTA, church council, city board, and the care of the household. Perhaps, on top of all of those duties, you also work outside the home, or perhaps, you have your own business, too.
You know your life (and/or business/career) could be better. You know you have a hard time making decisions. You likely feel inadequate in some ways, and if in business especially, you struggle with people skills and time management. You’re often feeling scatter-brained, have difficulty focusing, and most days could use a personal secretary. All the while, it feels like everyone around you isn’t struggling like you are. They go about their day unaffected by the little things that seem to set you off into a tailspin. – life could be better. You want life to be better. You want to feel better about your life. You know there’s potential for amazing things to come to fruition, but all of that seems out of reach. And, you also recognize that there’s a good reason for the struggle. You just haven’t connected the dots – yet.
You may not see yourself as a trailblazer, but if there’s one thing I have learned doing this work myself and with others, it is with momentum, you will become one. Once you start paving your path and blazing your own trail, you realize there’s nothing that can stop you. And, you’ll also feel far more prepared for the curveballs and sh*t-storms that happen in the future when you have the tools you learn through Grief Recovery to fall back on and rather than respond, approach the situation with a proactive mindset because you will have learned how to prevent yourself from further unnecessary suffering (through the knowledge gained in your YouMap®).
Connecting the Dots
You may be drinking more than you know you should be some nights. However, given the stress and anxiety you feel, it brings you relief and an escape for a time. The credit card debt may be racking up because spending money on things you don’t need has become another past-time to feel better. As a result of the shame and added stress these other behaviors (or behaviors like these) are causing in your life, you’re quick to anger. So, to combat the conflict at home, you’re becoming a workaholic.
Consider the losses in your life since childhood. These losses stack up. From losing a beloved pet, a grandparent that was more like a parent to you, a traumatic experience, or growing up in a dysfunctional home – perhaps with an alcoholic or witnessing domestic violence – your upbringing impacts your decision-making well into adulthood.
The cure to understanding the who, what, and why is to dig deep – in a guided, supported way. Unlike years of therapy (which has its place) and popping pills, tipping the bottle, or relying on mantras and affirmations (although these do have their time and place, too) – grief recovery is action. Through grief recovery, you go emotional mining, however, not in a willy-nilly way. Through an evidence-proven method, you’re guided through your inner, emotional experiences, thereby transforming your outer experience.
If a transformation of your heart, and your life, is what you seek, there is hope. If, what you’ve been doing, hasn’t been working, seriously ask yourself what you believe to be true about your life with grief. Are you exhausted by the emotional weight you’re carrying?
That boulder can be lifted, believe me.
And, I promise you – grief recovery is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. There is nothing else like it. It’s trademarked for a reason. Kent University studied it for a reason. It works. Experience the difference for yourself.
For those that believe you don’t have to look back to heal – I’m talking to you, too.
How has sweeping the pain under the rug been working for you?
I know it hasn’t because I did the same. And, because we’re all taught the same myths about grief, we’re all “under-the-rug-sweepers” to some degree.
Start sweeping your doorstep today, and you’ll see how the dust begins to settle in all areas of your life.
I’ve so been there, friend. I was you. It’s pretty amazing on the other side of the pain. I hope you join me.
P.S. Would you like to learn more? Schedule a free, no-obligation, free consultation!
Grief manifests in our lives and, in our bodies, in various ways. Most of us will resort to outward behaviors that are neither helpful and are (more often than not) even hurtful. These behaviors only lead to more secrecy, shame, and grief. And, where there is shame, there is usually a pattern to grieve alone and isolate.
Grief also shows up in physical ways as well:
In today’s episode, learn and reflect on ways you may be grieving without realizing it.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with grief due to any of the 40+ losses, there are free resources available HERE.
If you’d like to share your grieving voice on the show or want to share your thoughts about an episode, please send an email to [email protected].
When we think about grief, we don’t often think about how our bodies respond. And because grief is cumulative and it’s cumulatively negative, we tend to store the emotional energy of grief within us. And over time, because grief is cumulative that emotional energy, that emotional charge that we have around a relationship that feels incomplete can bring on physical symptoms. And it can cause us to resort to behaviors that are unhelpful and probably more likely hurtful to ourselves. When we think about STERBs the short-term energy relieving behaviors, what we’re really talking about are the things that we resort to, to feel better. Some examples of that are food, shopping, exercise, gaming, running away, alcohol, violence, sleep, cell phones, smoking, risk-taking, cutting, anger, fantasy, vaping, tattoos, drugs whether they be street or prescription, sex, body art, porn, gambling, and even picking there’s actually quite a few, right? We all tend to pick some of these if not many of them. And if we ask ourselves, am I doing this to feel better? Am I doing this to avoid how I am feeling, then it is likely that we are resorting to a sterb-like behavior. These STERBS have changed obviously over time because I grew up in the 80s and of course there wasn’t vaping back then there weren’t cell phones. At least, maybe some people had big phones but you know that there were very few people. Actually to church can be, people can become obsessive helpers. Isn’t always a bad thing. But you know, we often think though that too much of anything is probably not the best either, right?
The Ramifications and Consequences of STERB Behaviors
I’ve resorted to several of these, in my years that I’ve dealt with my grief. These are all examples of behaviors that we resort to because we don’t understand grief, because we don’t understand what it is that emotionally is happening with us. And over time, and I can attest to this being a graver for over 30 years, is we either implode or we explode. And these behaviors are ways that we explode, that we expend our emotional energy, the emotional energy that grief brings us into our lives. We can also implode with physical symptoms. We can experience migraines, bowel issues, high blood pressure, ulcers, even chronic disease, chronic illnesses. There are just so many ways that over time grief impacts our bodies, our minds, and like I’ve mentioned before, shuts us off from our physical bodies. It’s like our body puts this armor up between our soul and our heart. And we just can’t break that barrier. And so we don’t know how to deal with what we are physically and emotionally experiencing. And so in a quest to feel better, we do what we can to feel better. And that is the crux of grief. And these behaviors, many of them obviously just bring on more grief, don’t they? If we resort to alcohol, we become addicted to alcohol or shopping or food. There are ramifications and consequences of those STERB behaviors. If we resort to food, which is what I’ve mentioned in a previous episode about the myths of grief, you know in early childhood, we’re often exposed to this one, when we feel bad, someone wants to give us food, here just eat this, you’ll feel better, eat this you’ll forget about it. And as adults drink this glass of wine, you’ll forget all about it, or just have a couple of beers with me and melt away the day. You know, we resort to these behaviors because we’d rather emotionally not deal with what we are feeling. And when it comes to shopping the same thing, we sit on our laptops or we are ordering from our phones. And before you know it, you’ve spent $300 on a bunch of crap you don’t need and it doesn’t make you feel any better. And actually, afterward, you probably feel shame and you probably feel anxiety and worry about maybe the financial part of spending the money that you don’t maybe have, or buying things just that you don’t need. And we can look at all of these behaviors and see the consequence and the ramifications of them. Whether it be the cell phones, if we’re always like many of us are today and a lot of teens they’re in their cell phone constantly head down in the phone. And, that’s where a lot of kids are being bullied is right through their technology in their hands that creates more grief in their lives when they’re exposed to that emotional pain that others are inflicting. And if they’re not open to communicating what is going on they’re gonna resort to these other behaviors, whether it be vaping or sex or gaming or exercise or food, alcohol even and tobacco or maybe even running away. Or how about even suicide.
How Grief Manifests In Our Bodies
This is why I’m so passionate about educating on grief because if we don’t understand the basis of why we do the things we do and get to the root of what is really going on in our lives, we will have these problems the rest of our lives and if we are unable to recognize and our children what it is that they may be dealing with, simply by looking at these behaviors or other new things that will be coming up, because what will disturbs of tomorrow be, now it’s vaping. And what will be next, that kids will resort to. So this is an important topic for everybody. One that I cannot not talk about, hence the podcast. So I want you to think about in what ways that you have been imploding or exploding. And in talking more about the imploding part about how grief manifests in our bodies. I can share that through the years, probably around 2014, that’s when I started had body aches, I just felt achy all over. I had stomach issues, I felt like any time I ate just a little bit, I felt bloated, which really just kind of exasperated the lack of nutrition because I didn’t feel like I could eat because when I did eat, I felt bloated, and it was this vicious cycle. And I ended up losing more weight than I should have in a short amount of time and my hair was falling out. It was thinning. I had headaches, I wasn’t sleeping well. These are all things that emotionally we’re manifesting in physical form. And this is the point I want to make in that look at where you may be imploding and exploding. And consider that it may not be a pill that you need. It may be that you just need direct grief recovery work. And it changed my life.
This work has changed my life. I can recognize now when I am feeling myself resort to certain behaviors. I can recognize now when I am physically experiencing the physical manifestation of what I am emotionally feeling. It’s not always a symptom, like what we’re experiencing physically isn’t always a symptom of something with a medical label. I want you to consider that very well. Just maybe grief.
And that’s not a term that you will ever, ever likely hear your medical doctor say out loud. Are you suffering from grief? No, they may tell you, well you have anxiety, you have an anxiety disorder, you have high blood pressure, which you probably maybe do. I’m not saying that high blood pressure is not a symptom of a cardiac issue that I’m not saying. But what is the cause of the cardiac issue that is then causing the high blood pressure, could it then be the stress on your heart, which is due to possibly grief. And that’s where I’m saying let’s get to the root of what is causing the physical manifestation going on in our bodies. Let’s get to the root of what is causing the outward expression of what we’re experiencing.
P.S. I hope that you enjoyed it and you glean something from it useful. If you like this episode, I would love for you to share it with others and leave a review if you would, that would be fantastic. Catch all episodes of Grieving Voices HERE or on your preferred platform HERE. Much love my friend 💛
Through influenced/generational learning, we are taught unhelpful ways in which to address and help ourselves (and others) through grief.
This episode highlights the six myths (and misinformation) of grief that have a direct impact on our ability to cope with what is emotionally incomplete. These myths contribute to why we have a difficult time moving beyond the emotional dis-ease that grief brings to our lives.
Tune in next week; I’ll be talking more in-depth about “Academy Award Recovery,” as mentioned in this week’s episode.
Are you wanting more content like this? Head on over to Instagram or Facebook where I share more info just like this, and say hello!
If you or anyone you know is struggling with grief due to any of the 40+ losses, there are free resources available HERE.
If you’d like to share your grieving voice on the show or want to share your thoughts about an episode, please send an email to [email protected].
We learned by many different methods and one of these is called influence learning. But I’d like to also call it generational learning because our parents tend to fall back on what they were taught and their parents and the parents before. And I can attest to that as well as I am a parent of three kids. And before grief recovery and before actually diving into my own grief, I did a lot of these things and said a lot of these things that I’m going to share with you today. And so when as you’re listening, there might be a knee-jerk reaction to feel bad to feel like you’ve been failing as a parent. I know when I was learning this myself and was going through certification and had to kind of dig into the error of my ways, I guess. I felt a lot of guilt, actually. And I will talk about the guilt word. But that’s for another conversation. But I did feel really bad about having the awareness as to how I was responding to my children’s emotional needs. I had never really dug into my own and had not addressed my own. Although I had tried for many years, even seeking therapy. At one point, I just had not really dealt with head-on what was emotionally and complete. And so when it came to my children’s needs emotional needs, that is. I responded much like I was taught and much as I will dive into today. So let’s get started.
Myth 1 | Don’t Feel Bad
The first myth of grief is don’t feel bad. Often this message is shared by Don’t cry because we are born into a family. And we are born into having the ability to learn by sight, hearing, and all of these things, the senses. And so we watch and we learn from watching and emulating what our parents do by 18 to 24 months when we start to gain verbal skills. And from that point forward. We also learn by what is said. Hearing the message don’t cry is basically meaning don’t feel bad. As a young child, I often was told if you wanna cry, go to your room. And I did I would go under my bed to cry. I often would hide in the linen closet to cry. At one time even a search party was sent out there was I mean like a search party but you know family had to go look for me because they couldn’t find me. And I do believe that time I was in the kitchen cupboard. And so I would hide to go cry because I didn’t feel safe obviously, sharing my emotion. And because I am who I am I you know about Pisces I’m An INFP on Myers Briggs. I’m also a highly sensitive person, I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. So you really do not usually have to guess how I’m feeling. I was really taught though early on to hide how I was feeling. Because expressing my sadness, or anger or anything like that was, was kind of unacceptable or it really wasn’t embraced. I do feel like because my mom had not addressed a lot of her own grief in her life and didn’t know how to respond to mine and often would respond in anger. And so when my children were young, I often did the same, I would respond and had a hair-trigger for anger. Grief recovery has caused a lot of reflection in my life, if I would have had this information that I have today, back then. I do feel like I would have been a very different parent. And that’s why I’m also very passionate about this work.
Myth 2 | Replace the Loss
But coming back to the myth of don’t feel bad, we then morph into another myth of replacing the loss. Because if we expand on that, let’s say, as a child when my father passed away, he was 44 and I was eight, I was the youngest. And my next sibling is he was 14 at the time. And so my mom really rather quickly replaced the loss of my father. And that message, obviously really has stuck with me because that’s what I was seeing. That’s what I was learning. And growing up, we lose someone, replace them, right? replace the loss. And a simple message like this is passed on, even just by a child losing a pet, don’t feel bad Victoria, we can get another dog tomorrow, right? Or friend moves away? Well, don’t be sad there’s plenty of other friends you can make and you can try to find other friends. It’s these, they’re unintentionally hurtful. But they are damaging, these messages are damaging. And this is what influence learning is, it’s this generational learning that is passed down to us. And so if we expand this on into teenagers fall in love for the first time, and end up breaking up or let’s say my son had a girlfriend, and he got ditched. And I would say, don’t feel bad, there is plenty of fish in the sea. How often do we say things like that, right? So we have one math Don’t feel bad, then we add on to it with replacing the loss. And, if you’re going to cry, go to your room. That’s okay. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.
Myth 3 | Grieve Alone
This expands to the next math, laugh and the whole world laughs with you. And I bet you can finish that sentence, right? Cry and you cry alone. And it’s heartbreaking to realize that when you’re sad and might really benefit from some emotional understanding that you were taught to be by yourself. And so this leads into the next myth of grief. And that is to grieve alone. We can remember all of these instances in our childhood. And I’m sure as you’re listening, you’re thinking of some things yourself, it would be sad enough if it ended with feeling dismissed and misunderstood as a child as I did. Unfortunately, though this kind of misinformation becomes the foundation of lifelong habits. Many of which directly interfere with our ability to be happy. It’s tragic, right? It is absolutely tragic. If I need to grieve alone, then you do too. We grow up feeling like these are the correct ways to respond, to grieve, to isolate, to grieve alone, to not feel bad. And if I’m growing up believing that this is how you deal with grief, right? then you should too. This is how you do it too. And so we pass this on and this is how we respond to society as well.
The day my dad died, I was in school, and my sister is the one that came to get me. And I just remember it was like this out, it’s like an out-of-body experience. I can see myself holding your hand and we’re walking down the hall. It’s like, a kid you not. It’s like this out-of-body experience, I can see it today. And I’m looking at the back of us. And she says to me, “Dad died.” And at that moment, I don’t know what I was thinking at that time. But the impact of that statement changed my entire life. I was not given the opportunity to share what I was feeling, to share what I was experiencing. I saw my father lying in his casket and there was no discussion, no conversation with me about what this meant. There was no support for me. The teachers didn’t even know how to respond, the school didn’t know how to respond. Obviously, my friends, my peers, my classmates, the same age as me, didn’t know how to respond. I just remember that being like a very lonely time for me. That I do remember, the one statement that sticks out in my brain is that at my dad’s funeral. I remember someone saying and talking about me, she doesn’t know what’s going on. Anyway, I looked at my children at the age of eight. And I thought about that scenario of where I was growing up, when I was eight, in that what was going on in my life at that time. And there is no doubt in my mind that if my children’s father had passed away when they were eight, that they would not have understood or known what was happening or going on, children understand far more than we give them credit for. I mean, if you can take a three-year-old and give them an iPad that they have never seen or touched, and they can figure it out, you can bet your bottom dollar that they understand the emotional connection. And when that’s lost.
Myth 4 | It Just Takes Time
So up to this point, we’ve talked about not feeling bad, replacing the loss, and grieving alone. And next, we’re going to talk about the next myth is just give it time. Because why? Time heals all wounds. Or does it? I’m here to tell you, it absolutely does nothing that passes the two messages that replacing a loss and just give it time do not go together. Because if replacing the loss would have fixed my mother, she wouldn’t have to wait for time to heal her. And on the other hand, if time were to heal her, then maybe she wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to replace the loss. The concept that time heals is probably responsible for more heartache than any other single wrong idea our society has about dealing with grief. Because the terrible part is that it isn’t true. It’s one of those falsehoods that’s been passed down from generation to generation. And the mistaken idea that after enough time passes, something will magically change to make us whole again, is really preposterous. If we were dealing with any other human pain, no one would say just give it time. If you came across a person with a broken arm, you wouldn’t say just give it time. Just as broken bones should be properly set to heal and ultimately function again, so must the emotional heart. And I can tell you after 30 plus years of grieving the loss of my father, the time has done nothing for me but it is the action I’ve taken within that time that has mattered. So time heals is absolutely false. And we need to quit buying into it as a society. If you discovered that your car had a flat tire, would you pull up a chair next to the car and sit and wait for the air to somehow get back into the tire? No, it’s silly. Why would you do that? So time itself does not heal. It is what you do within time that will help you complete the pain caused by loss and I’m a testament to this. So far, we’ve covered four of the six myths. Don’t feel bad, replace the loss, grieve alone, and just give it time.
Myth 5 | Be Strong (For Yourself & Others)
Next, we’ll talk about being strong for others. There are no specific instructions on how to do that. It’s one of those expressions that sounds good but has no real value. And it has to be one of the most confusing ideas relating to the loss. And it’s confusing because it is undoable. Truly, if you think about it, be strong for others. What does that even look like? You can be strong or you can be human. And you know what, we’re all human. So I’m not even sure what being strong means. And when I think about being strong for others, or for yourself. It’s like a passage that we put on the show of I got this, this is gonna get me down. When really inside, we’re probably crumbling a little. We don’t have that support. And we know we don’t have that support we need because of these myths I’m talking about that society has taught us that our parents and their parents have taught. We apply these myths that don’t feel bad, replace the loss, grieve alone, just give it time, because of how society responds to us. And because of what we’ve learned, we attempt to be strong, we attempt to have broad shoulders and a strong back, because we don’t have the support to do anything but that right?
Myth 6 | Keep Busy
Another myth that is common that most people believe to be true and helpful yet it is neither is to keep busy, that you must stay active or keep busy are two clichés that we all have heard following any kind of significant loss. And here’s one important question, Does keeping busy discover and complete the pain caused by loss? The obvious answer is no. Well, then what does keeping busy accomplish if anything, it distracts you. And it makes one more day go by keeping busy buries the pain of the loss under an avalanche of activity. Every griever can attest to doing something to distract themselves from what they are feeling. And this is absolutely exhausting. And there are other dangers to and keeping busy. I have defined grief as the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or a change in a familiar pattern of behavior. So a death, a divorce, or any other major loss produces massive changes in all things that are familiar. And it is very difficult to adapt to life after loss. If you were never a busy person before a loss, keeping busy would add yet another major change to what was familiar. The most dangerous flaw of keeping busy is the idea that it will make you feel better. Busyness is just a distraction. It does not alter the fact that you have to take direct actions to complete the pain caused by the loss. So we have discussed six pieces of information, miss information about dealing with loss. Don’t feel bad, replace the loss, grieve alone, just give it time, be strong for others, and keeping busy.
None of these ideas lead us to the actions of discovering and completing the unfinished emotions that accrue in all relationships. And I can tell you, I identify with every single one. And I would bet if you’re listening to this, and you’re thinking about your losses, you resonate with this too. Earlier I talked about you know the grave and alone myth and how it teaches us to isolate ourselves. Since isolation is one of the problems confronting grievers in our society then participation is clearly part of the solution. So I encourage you to participate in your own recovery and suggest that you start right now. Using the list of the six incorrect ideas as a guide. See if you can think of any other ideas that you were taught or that influenced your beliefs about dealing with sad, painful, or negative feelings. All of these myths I’ve shared with you today cause us to have an indifference about our own losses. And lead to us pretending to put on an Academy Award recovery front to pretend that we’re happier than we are, to put on a brave smile, to really almost avoid even talking about our loss. Because other people have been taught these very same things and reflect on us based on their perspective and their lens of their loss. How we should be responding. Either we’re grieving too long, or not long enough, or talking about it too much or not enough. Right?
We can never satisfy society and how we express our grief. But when it comes down to it, we are all a little uncomfortable around other people’s losses, because we are incredibly uncomfortable facing our own. From my heart to yours, thank you for listening. If you liked this episode, please share it because sharing is caring. And until next time, give and share compassion by being hurt with yours. And if you’re hurting know that what you’re feeling is normal and natural.
P.S. Catch all episodes of Grieving Voices HERE or on your preferred platform HERE. Did you find this episode helpful? Rate, Review, or Share it with a griever you know and love! 💛
Despite how you may be feeling right now, at this moment, you are not crazy.
This post is dedicated to all of those who are feeling like they’re either going crazy or those who feel like, “Yup, already there yesterday.”
What’s happened lately in your world?
What has happened directly to you?
What’s been impacting you lately?
What happened to you 2, 12, 20 years ago?
You Are Not Crazy
Grief is the crazy pot-stirrer. The ruffler of feathers. The sleeping giant that wakes up, sometimes after 30 years.
And, in its wake, it’s also the great clarifier.
I felt like I was going crazy at my worst. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, disregarded basic self-care, doctored for unexplained symptoms, dropped weight, started losing my hair, sought knowledge everywhere else but within myself (out of fear of what I would discover), and was part of the wine-mom culture before it was a “thing” (which is doing more harm than good, btw) and quit before that was a “thing,” too, in Nov. 2019.
Do you know someone who seems to be struggling and find yourself judging that person?
I bet you’ve struggled a time or two as well. Perhaps, you, too, secretly feel crazy, but ya know…sometimes there’s this persona we grip onto so strongly that no amount of staring in the mirror can even crack. We refuse to see what we don’t want to see.
We can drag a person to the mirror, but if they refuse to open their eyes, what do you do?
The only reflection that matters is the one you see when you open your eyes. And, if you’re living out of integrity, you won’t be so inclined to look at yourself very long, if at all.
I know a beautiful soul in the online, entrepreneurial world who recently sported a shirt that read: Make Empathy Great Again. I need a shirt like that in my life. That is a mission I firmly get behind. Empathy just so happens to be my number one strength, too. So, of course, it’s a mission I would get behind. #missionempathy Let’s get that trending, shall we?
What are you refusing to see?
Your own pain and suffering?
The pain and suffering of someone else because of what it brings up for you?
As you move through your life the next few days, think about how you can make empathy great again in your world.
People don’t ask for grief; it finds us. Always. No one can escape it. Sometimes, yes, it is self-inflicted; however, I believe this is mostly because of shame, which creates a divide between where we are and where we desire to be (emotionally and spiritually). Empathy is a bridge.
And, if you’re unsure how to build that bridge, you don’t have to try to build it alone. I’m a message away.
In the meantime, please put your head on your pillow tonight, knowing that you are not crazy. What you are feeling is normal and natural. If only someone would have told me that way back then, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so alone for as long as I did. More importantly, had I known then what I know now about grief, I would have believed it for myself.
Sending you love + light this Friday and beyond. 💛
P.S. In the context of using the word “crazy,” it’s not a response of fear, meanness, disregard toward, or a belief that I have about mental illness. Quite the contrary, it is how I described myself as I was going through postpartum depression and a mid-life unraveling in grief, which was something I was in total denial about, therefore, did not talk about at the time. I did what a good portion of people do – grieve alone. And, that’s the problem. When we’re deep in the weeds of feeling “crazy,” we don’t speak up out of fear of actually having that affirmed to be true. It’s a paradox, and until we can freely and openly talk about our suffering without criticism, analysis, or judgment, all of the political correctness in the world won’t change a darn thing, in my opinion. Be the empathy you wish to see in the world.
March was a chaotic and somewhat emotionally heavy month for me. I know I wasn’t alone, as several others I had spoken to throughout the month expressed their own version of chaos and emotional heaviness. Although we often create our own suffering, don’t we?
We procrastinate on having the tough conversations we know we need to have. All the while; stewing, brewing, and ruminating.
We don’t share our needs and then get upset when our unknown needs aren’t being met.
We don’t have boundaries but then get angry when we’re taken advantage of or taken for granted.
One of the best quotes I’ve heard in a long time was this:
The more you know yourself, the less likely you’ll look to others to tell you who you are. – Kristin Sherry
A part of knowing ourselves is having an awareness of our strengths, values, and how we’re wired. When we know these things about ourselves, and out of respect for ourselves, communicate from this inner-knowing, we can look at others and consider that they, too, have differing strengths, values, and are wired differently.
This week was another death-versary of my dad being gone, and this one felt a little heavier than usual. Perhaps it was the End-of-Life Doula training I recently finished or, the conversations I’ve been having for the podcast. Either way, “stuff” came up for me this week that I didn’t expect.
I journaled about what I was feeling and here is an excerpt:
…The past two years have been the most incredible period of growth for me. Had I not sought to sweep my own doorstep, I would have never realized my potential of being a healer and lightworker that is here to serve and be a beacon of hope. I would have continued to blame, point fingers, or be a victim. None of these behaviors woud have moved me forward. It is as if I had been driving my car of life while looking in the rearview mirror. What is done is done. I can’t change it. I can’t changed all that I’ve experienced since my dad died. It is what it is. But, I’m so glad I got tired of telling myself the lie that suffering was my destiny.
We live into the stories we tell ourselves. We fulfill our own prophecies if we believe them. If you come from a poor family and believe your life is one of being poor, you will live into that self-proclaimed prophecy of living a poor life. And, I don’t just mean monetarily. We fulfill our own prophecies of being poor in health, physical appearance, qualify (and quantity) of relationships, etc..
And, grief is the one thing we can rightfully blame. There is a lot of loss represented by the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations, and anything we wish would’ve been (or could be) different, better, or more. Add in and end of, or change, in familiar patterns of behavior and, that’s grief, too!
Grief makes us feel like we don’t have a choice. But, we do.
So this week, I looked at my sadness, wrote about it, listened to some inspiring podcasts, and realized something…
the compassion I so readily give to others, I needed to give to myself.
And, after asking myself what would I say to a friend, I decided to take the day to do some things that bring me joy or lift my mood. I went on the treadmill, while listening to an inspiring podcast episode, took an extra-long shower, enjoyed a cup of tea and looked out the window (just BE-ing present), played with my pooch, Gizmo, and made a heartfelt, end of the first quarter donation, to the Fisher House for ND veterans and their families. My dad, a Vietnam vet, received his healthcare at the Fargo, ND VA Hospital after his colon cancer diagnosis. We could not be there as a family, as a place like the Fisher House did not exist. I’m so glad to see there will be a place for a family to be together.
What is the one question to ask yourself when you’re suffering?
What would I say to my friend?
More often than not, the helpers of this world have the hardest time giving to themselves what is given to others so readily – compassion.
Give yourself compassion; speak to and treat yourself kindly.
As an empathic, compassionate person (compassion is also one of my top ten values), I need to remain mindful of when the compassion scale is tipping too heavily in one direction. This is so often why those in the helper, service-based roles (therapists, doctors, nurses, counselors, healers, etc.) often burnout. We want to serve and help, but the person we often forget to serve first is ourselves. There is a reason why, during my grief recovery training, there is specific education around what is known as “compassion fatigue.”
March was my lesson in compassion fatigue. I really had to assess my schedule and look at where I needed to step on the breaks. So, I created more breathing room at the end of March, and then the death-versary came, and so did fatigue out of seemingly nowhere. The body is always speaking to us, my friend.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a new month, a new quarter, and I’m looking forward to implementing some of the things the first quarter taught me this year. I’m also looking forward to sharing what I learned about end-of-life and through YouMap®.
I will be incorporating YouMap® into my grief recovery one-on-one program. This will entail an increase in pricing to reflect additional sessions and knowledge/information that will be added, however, it will only make the grief recovery experience that much richer. You will know why you’re grieving the way you grieve, recognize trouble areas, and gain a greater understanding of how others in the same household are grieving differently (which doesn’t make them wrong). Knowing your YouMap® will also help you to see exactly where your pain points are, and together, we’ll work toward a solution after grief recovery in an additional session. It’s one thing to receive an assessment of your strengths, values, skills, and how you’re wired, but what I love most is, you learn what to do with the information; something every other assessment out there doesn’t address. And believe, me, I’ve taken a lot of them.
I’d like to close with a journal entry from this week:
If we’re traumatized in childhood, we grow to be traumatized (reactive) adults who often become people-pleasers. We become adults who lack self-confidence, self-worth, and inner-peace.
The past two years have been learning how to navigate these things and find inner-peace about what cannot be changed. And rather, bless the past, and continue to evolve and grow – use it for good in my life. Because, the only constant is change.
I want to share with others what I’ve learned and walk with them in their suffering. However, always with the intention of lighting the path forward when all feels lost. Taking the last bit of hope that a hurting heart has been white-knuckling and using it to UNLEASH their heart of the darkness of their pain and into the light of what’s possible.
And, to never forget – when you unleash your heart, you unleash your life.
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