Monday, February 22, 2010

COPING WITH GRIEF-Surviving Loss-10 Suggestions (Part 3 of 3)

~published by Western Washington University/09.04.2009

7. Take Time To Feel Good. Bereaved people are not sentenced to unhappiness. We are not born happy or unhappy. We learn to be happy by the way we adjust to life-crises and use the opportunities life gives us. We need to be patient and give ourselves time to learn and time to make mistakes. We especially need to affirm ourselves and pat ourselves on the back for every small thing we learn to do, for this is when we '”expand" ourselves. The death of a loved one affects our life-style and changes our self-image. Grief can rapidly shape us and help us discover a new independence and outlook on things.

8. Take Time To Make New Friends. Loneliness will be present in grief, and it might be nature's way of mending our broken hearts. Loneliness can also be transformed into solitude. That happens when we are not oppressed by our loneliness, but learn to live creatively with it by cultivating our inner resources and self-understanding. In the grief process, healing occurs when we take the step to move out of our safe boundaries and interact with others. Old friends might be there to offer security and comfort; new friends will be there to offer opportunities. We might meet these new people through a support group, a card club, or at a class. We need friends on the road to recovery.

9. Take Time To Laugh. In life there are as many reasons to laugh as there are to cry. In grief there is a time when our tears come with less frequency and intensity, and we learn to remember without crying. Laughter, on the other hand, helps us survive, and it helps us reenter life. Laughter helps us accept our limitations and develops hope in the present. Laughter defines our movement from helplessness to hopefulness.

10. Take Time To Give. A way to overcome our loneliness and pain is to be concerned about the loneliness and pain of others. People turn away from grief when they feel wanted and needed by the living. Being able to help someone gives us meaning. So if we find someone else who needs us it can be an opportunity for our own healing. Getting involved with others gives us the feeling that life goes on and takes us away from self-pity. Listening to someone, empathizing and sharing over the telephone, providing information or going out to lunch together are ways to give of yourself.

There is a tremendous wisdom that is accumulated in one’s encounter with grief, and it needs to be shared. Healing takes place when we turn our pain into a positive experience, and we realize that helping others is the key to helping ourselves. The road to recovery from grief, therefore, is to take time to do things which will enable us to give a renewed meaning to our lives. In grief, no one can take away our pain because no one can take away our love. The call of life is to learn to love…again

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