It never fails. I meet a new person and soon into the conversation I know the question is looming. “So, what is it that you do for a living?” Without hesitation I tell them that I am a grief counsellor. It is always at that exact moment people look as though they want to give me a hug. That I must always be sad or depressed. Before they can tell me how difficult my job must be I am always quick to reassure them how much I love what I do. The puzzled look on their face prompts me to follow-up with a short explanation. I merely express to them that grief comes in so many forms. That people trust me with losses they have suffered in life. Loss is not always death. Loss comes in forms of once being a healthy vibrant being and now struggling to get out of bed and get dressed. Loss comes in the form of having a job you loved and having to say goodbye to it. Loss comes in the form of love you thought would last forever and figuring out how to say goodbye.
You see, I have one of the best jobs! Helping people find the inner strength to move forward. I mean, isn’t that what we all need just to get through life? I know that when I look back on some of my most difficult life struggles, all I was searching for was a little solid advice and chocolate and wine. 🙂
I, like most of the population have been through the list above. As I sat back today wrapped in the fuzziest of blankets and sipping a hot tea I thought to myself, during any of those journeys what advice would have been most valuable?
When you experience loss in life you will experience grief
Have you ever wondered why, when you are going through a break up it physically hurts so bad you can’t eat or sleep? You can spend days crying and not wanting to get out of bed? That is grief. If you get devastating news from your physician about your health, you will experience the same cycles of grief. Don’t fight this. Work through them, let the emotions happen.
Always Choose Healing
In the first few weeks after any news of loss you will feel torn between healing and hope. With a breakup/divorce you will want to hold out hope that there is a chance for it to survive. Once you have made the decision to move forward, keep moving. You simply cannot heal while riding the teeter totter of indecisiveness. You deserve that much.
Be Your Biggest Supporter
We read the clichés all the time. Life is tough. When life gives you lemons, you make…. and so on. Some of us are blessed to have a strong support system, but there will be times that you have to rely on yourself. When you are in the midst of loss and you don’t know which way to turn, just stop. Take a breath. You do not need all of the answers at this exact moment. Grab your favourite snack, put on a movie that will make you laugh and remind yourself of these three things. You are brave. You are beautiful. You are loved. All that you need is for you to believe in yourself right now. That is enough.
Always Do What is Best For You
This is not going to be easy. Family and friends will mean well in these situations when they offer advice. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with so many conflicting ideas on how you should live through loss. There is only one right answer. Whether you are finding your path through a death, a job loss, a health crisis or a relationship breakdown, you live through it your way. Your timeline, your decisions and no need to defend them to anyone. You simply thank everyone for their advice and move along. This is your life and you must do what is best because hey, you are the only one who has to live in it, so you better end up loving it.
You are Not a Failure
In life, we fall down. Not all of our relationships or jobs work out. Sometimes we get sick and our lives are forever changed. We make mistakes as parents. We are human. What we all need to remember is that we are not failures. By getting up everyday and trying to do better, even if that means brushing your hair than GREAT JOB!! It will be challenging going through these things, but do not ever think of yourself as a failure.
Create Your Best Life
What we always fail to see in times of loss is that this can in fact be a time for restructuring. When we have worked through our emotions and the time feels right, we truly can create our best life. If you lose your job, find out what it is you have always wanted to do and make that happen. Take some new classes, upgrade, or volunteer. If you are coming out of a relationship, try new things, visit new places, spend time getting to know you. Find all of those things you have been putting off or have always wanted to do and make them happen. Only you can create the life you truly want to live.
You Are Only Responsible For Your Happiness
There are those of us who are easily swept up in fixing, loving and caring so hard for others, that we end up lost. When you find yourself smack in the middle of loss it is very easy to redirect your energies into the lives of others to avoid the situation at hand. This is only a temporary fix and all of those feelings and emotions will find their way to you. Deal with them now. Here is an easy rule to follow. Your happiness is your responsibility. You can never be responsible for the happiness of another person. You can make them smile, love you, give them inspiration and motivation, but they alone are responsible for their own happiness. Be your own reason to smile. 🙂
So yes, life will throw you lemons, the question is what are YOU going to do with them? Me? Oh lemon cupcakes of course 🙂
Much Love ❤