Removing the Pain of Grief and Loss
At one point or another, tragedy affects our lives. When that happens, you may think that the traumatic feeling of grief will never go away and wonder how you can now make meaning out of your shattered life. Grief is a normal process and reaction to loss. There are therapeutic steps that can be taken to help you move forward. The Self-Awareness Weekend (SAW) is a counseling program that focuses on those steps to support you in your grieving process.
Grief Comes In Stages
There are certain stages of grief that come in a predictable sequence no matter what kind of tragedy you're going through. You will likely experience a few of these stages, if not all of them. Once these stages run their course, you will be able to move forward.
1. Denial. “This can’t be happening to me.” You may want to deny what has happened in your life when the tragedy first strikes. This is how you and your body try to avoid the pain. This stage can last as short as a few days, all the way up to weeks or months depending on what has happened. You do not want to stay at this stage forever because if you did, you would never remove the pain from what has happened.
2. Guilt. “I must have done something wrong.” Guilt is usually a part of grief whether or not you even have a reason to feel guilty. You will find things in the situation that you could or should have done. You need to feel this pain in order to move past it.
3. Anger. “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?” Anger usually doesn't take long to start taking an effect on you. This happens once you realize that there is nothing you can do to change the bad situation or control it. Feeling and releasing the anger responsibly with support is what needs to happen.
4. Depression. “I’m too sad to do anything.” This stage has been known to last for an extended period of time. You may feel hopelessness, helplessness, apathy, or indifference. Although it may be hard, it is important to talk to your friends and family at this time. It's an important part of the grieving process.
5. Things Will Get Better. The way you look at the world will eventually improve. You will start to feel better. It's important to keep your lines of communication open and remember that your loved ones want you to have a long, happy, and healthy life.
6. Acceptance. “I’m at peace with what is going to happen/has happened.” This is the final stage of grief. At this stage, you will have truly accepted what has happened and you will start to feel hopeful for life to come. There may be some aspects of your life that are different, but for the most part you will feel normal again.
Blocks to Removal of the Pain of Grief and Loss
We live in a culture that is very uncomfortable with the subject of grief and loss. Myths about grief and the grieving process have developed as a result of this discomfort. There are 7 common myths that are a big reason why many grievers can remain stuck in their grief and unable to grow and thrive again.
Myth #1 - IT JUST TAKES TIME.
Another version of this same myth is “Time heals all wounds.” The mind is searching for an answer to the pain of grief. Somehow the thought that more time will change the painful feelings is assumed to give grievers hope. Grief is not about time. Grief is about a hurting heart that needs to be healed.
Myth #2 - PUT ON A HAPPY FACE. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER.
We tend to be a culture of shallow smiles and disconnected feelings. It is very difficult process for the griever to move from grieving to a place of genuine happiness. Putting on a big smile while one is crying inside of full of anger can create deep inner conflict and confusion. Being full of anger and resentments and even angry at God is a common part of the grieving process
Myth #3 - BE STRONG. OTHERS ARE DEPENDING ON YOU.
This myth can be a real energy drainer. Being strong is such a prevalent mandate with much of our Western culture that often a grieving person is not given permission to be real. Instead he or she is requested to pretend to be strong.
Myth #4 - KEEP BUSY. YOU’VE GOT TO GO ON WITH YOUR LIFE.
Those who are grieving often hear suggestions from others to keep busy in order to “take your mind off your grief.” Sometimes grievers launch themselves into frantic activity in the hopes of filling the void that has been left with the loss. But that void cannot really be filled instead the pain must be healed.
Myth #5 - REPLACE THE LOSS AND GO ON WITH YOUR LIFE.
We often begin learning about this myth at an early age when a family pet dies. Parents often almost immediately bring home a new pet to “replace” the dead pet. In essence, the child is learning that the appropriate thing to do is to replace a loss immediately.
Myth #6 - PUT MORE STRUCTURE IN YOUR LIFE.
Adding more and more to one’s calendar really does not heal grief. Outside structure does not heal the inner turmoil from the loss. Your loved one or whatever loss it is, is gone. There is a festering wound inside that will not be healed by structure. Grief is not an intellectual challenge to be strategized with structure and order. The domain of grief is the heart, not the mind.
Myth #7 - SOCIALIZE. IT WILL TAKE YOUR MIND OFF YOUR GRIEF.
Familiar surroundings, old friends, caring family members can be healing if the person is allowed to be real and feel their feelings. Otherwise, socializing for socializing sake can seem very awkward. The griever feels awkward and the friends also can feel awkward. Again, the pain must be healed.
When You Feel Stuck
Are you feeling stuck in your grieving process? It is not unusual for you to feel that you will never get past a particular stage of the grieving process or that you are stuck in one or more of the myths described above. Depression and the feelings of deep sorrow are the most common stage for this to happen. Grieving is one of the most difficult emotional experiences a person can undergo.
The grief process can be compared to the transformative process of the butterfly. Grievers often find themselves stuck inside the safety of the cocoon of grief. There is a sense of feeling lost in the darkness of grief. There is a push-pull feeling that often occurs. Grievers want to move beyond their grief, yet often find themselves unable to move out of that dark but secure place that grief can become.
The journey of the butterfly from the cocoon is not an easy task. The caterpillar, in essence, dissolves within the cocoon.
It requires both effort and surrender for the butterfly to emerge and fly into the world of possibility. The butterfly knows instinctively that it will die if it does not take action to leave the protection of the cocoon. It takes a decision and action to emerge into the possibilities beyond the cocoon of grief.
To move beyond grief may not be an easy journey, and it can be a natural process. Just as the butterfly follows its natural process to emerge from the cocoon, grievers have the choice to take action steps to emerge from grief and fly into the life of possibility that awaits.
Taking a Big Step Toward Healing
You may now be actively seeking a solution to help you move beyond your grief. You may want to consider attending the Self-Awareness Weekend to receive support for your process of healing your grief. SAW can help you to remove the pain, guilt, anger, depression, and sorrow. This leads you to a healthy resolution of the grieving process. Many counselors may tell you that they will teach you how to cope and manage your grief and loss. That will not work.
The leaders at the Self-Awareness Weekend will guide you through very safe, therapeutic processes so that you can experience your feelings fully and thus remove the deep pain of the grief and loss at its core.
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Expert Guidance & Facilitation
Don’t miss the opportunity to venture into the most life-altering, self-empowering weekend ever offered, led by these magnificent teachers:
Andrea Lambert, LMFT
Founder and Leader of the Self-Awareness Weekend
Licensed Individual, Marriage and Family Therapist
Hypnotherapist & EMDR Practitioner
Andrea is also available in her Sacramento, CA office or by telephone to provide private short-term counseling for Individuals, Couples, Teens, Children and Families.
||Shannon Lee, CCHT
Co-Leader of the Self-Awareness Weekend
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
Certified Coach and Holistic Practitioner