The holiday season can be particularly painful for those who are going through or have recently gone through a loss. The holidays bring up memories, and we long for the other person. This longing can feel like an emptiness when we can’t find the person that we are seeking. When we focus on loss, we miss or overlook the abundance in our lives. The person you are grieving at one point taught you about yourself through their love and actions.
1. What meaning has this person brought to your life?
What is it that you admired about your lost loved one? What were their values you respected? What is it that they taught you about love, life, relationships and yourself. These values and acts of love that were shown to you are gifts that you can always turn too when you feel alone, scared or sad.
2. You count, you matter, ask for what you need
Sometimes people feel lonely when they grieve because they don’t want to burden others or because they feel like others won’t understand. Your friends and family might be afraid to make grief worse, so they leave you alone. They might have the false belief that asking you questions about your pain will make you sad. Often people do not know what to say when people are grieving. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; people want to help; they don’t know-how.
Sometimes, when people grieve, they also have guilt. They regret hurtful things that they may have said or done towards the lost loved one. If there is trauma involved, shame and guilt could be more profound. Write out your regrets and permit yourself to forgive yourself. Be patient and compassionate with yourself. How would you speak to a grieving child? That is how you need to talk to yourself.
4. Allow yourself to grieve, but don’t get lost in it
Allow yourself to grieve. Allow yourself to cry, to shout, to feel what you need to feel. Then make sure that you live and get your life back on track. Be patient with yourself. You might feel tired and slow, so go slow, but keep going.
5. Start your own holiday tradition
If you are feeling alone this year, what tradition can you start that is just yours or for you and the lost loved one? Include your own identity into the new tradition.
6. Reconcile your identity
What part of your identity was lost? Who are you now? Who do you want to be? Dark times can offer insight and an opportunity to be a better person.
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