We all have family beliefs, cultural practices and patterns of behavior which directly effect the way we mourn. While these can support us as we mourn, there comes a time when we would do well to make ourselves conscious of these assumptions, questioning them in order to shed things that hold us in sadness and grief longer than needed. Here are some common misconceptions that may keep us stuck in grief. Ask yourself if these mis-statements apply to you and your mourning process and help shed awareness to your process, so you can lighten some of the ongoing the heaviness and move forward fluidly.
1) When I go out in the world I must be wrapped in a cloak of sadness in order to show how much I cared for my loved one.
2) Enjoying myself is inappropriate unless it is connected in some way with remembering my loved one.
3) I put my lost loved one upon a pedestal, remembering only their wonderful parts and not the human frailties we all have.
4) I cannot let go of my anger at my loved one for the imperfections that I feel could have saved them. If only they had taken better care of themselves this would not have happened.
5) I am a victim of unfairness.
6) I have made an identity out of my grief and the story of my loss in one or more of the following ways:
*I am long suffering.
*I have had to deal with more than most in this life.
*There is no way I could be happy after what has happened to me.
All of these are beliefs which can keep us stuck in grief.
As those who have lost, we recognize that so much of what we had taken for granted as assured in life is proven to be tenuous. But one thing is certain: if there is one thing we want, and that our loved ones would most definitely want for us, it is to be happy. Shedding some of these misconceptions will clear us of the added layers of suffering we can cause for ourselves. We have suffered enough pain and loss, and we own only what has come to us by circumstance, not what is added on to by mistaken beliefs.
Try on these new conceptions about grief and loss which can help us to make sense of our loss in a more positive way. See how they fit for you:
1) If my loved one were watching over me, would they be proud of me? What would make them even more proud?
2) It is my job to go on and live this life as fully and as happily as I can. It is what my loved one would have wanted most for me.
3) My loved one’s life had to stop. But my heart is still beating. I am still in this world for a reason, and it is not to be miserable. I am meant to be happy.
4) Our relationship is ongoing. It continues to evolve and expand, even today, even without physical presence. Some things will be harder, but some things will be made richer by this change.
5) I miss my loved one deeply and always will. I can honor that love the best by being the best person I can be and living the happiest life I can.
6) When I feel happiness, I can be reminded that this softer gentler me is possible because of the love I shared with my loved one, by the ways it expanded me, and by the ongoing love we will always share.
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