30 Aug Loss And Grief: A Different Perspective
“It is better to spend more time honoring and celebrating what we had than grieving the loss of it.” – G Cole, Founder at Pathwaves
Most, if not all, humans suffer from loss and grief. In many of these cases, the suffering is painfully obvious. Sometimes, however, we are unaware of the aspects of loss, and do not realize how much this suffering is affecting our lives.
Grief, which is an emotion we feel when we lose someone or something, has a ripple effect on multiple levels of the psyche, as well as the ability to live focused on the present moment. Every human has suffered a loss at some point in our lives. Therefore, each of us is suffering from a different level of grief, based on how fully we have reconciled (processed, accepted, forgiven and moved on from) our losses.
The mental and emotional components, as outlined in the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief model, can have devastating effects on our lives. And the mental is what drives the emotional.
In our minds there are an endless supply of “what-if” scenarios. An idea that we could have, or even should have, behaved differently. We think we may have been able to do more, or somehow saved the object of our grief. Then, in the aftermath, the idea that “life goes on” can seem like a bitter retort. Questions of significance and meaning may arise. And, to make it more difficult, we are confronted with a reminder that death will happen to us someday.
The Kübler-Ross Model is a combination of mental and emotional stages. Bertrand Grondin added an interesting connection that demonstrates how grieving, anger, bargaining, and depression cause lower levels of energy, and a reduction in satisfaction. Conversely, acceptance improves energy levels and heightens satisfaction. Through our experiencing helping clients process grief, we have found all stages, and their effects, to be important. And, the amount time spent at each stage will vary from person to person, and event to event.
The Mental, Emotional, and Physical Components of Grief
At Pathwaves, we combine the mental, emotional, and physical components. Mindset drives the process of living, and experiencing emotions is considered one of the best aspects of being alive. Therefore, when it comes to the grieving process, we believe that moving through the cycles as opposed to getting stuck in one or more of them is essential to optimal living. With our clients who are processing loss, we monitor the effects of grieving on the nervous system, which is the physical component, and have found that a positive perspective provides for the least amount of neurological effect.
Mentally, it is important to consider the reason why we are grieving. Loss is part of living, and we know that nothing lasts forever. We also recognize that without death, there would be no life, therefore death is an essential part of living. It is impossible to have one without the other, so both could be considered important in the grand scheme. Therefore, we have the option to celebrate death just as we celebrate birth.
Often we are living in denial of our own death. Yet, there is something to be gleaned from the phrase, “Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly.” Solace can be found in the idea that we are all on a journey, and being human is just one stop along the way.
The meaning derived from and the belief systems developed through loss, rather than the loss itself, have proven to be the most detrimental part of this equation. The event itself is in the past, and may continue to cause emotional responses. However, it is the meaning we attach to it and the belief systems we operate from that will influence future behavior, and affect life both today and tomorrow.
Mitigating Unconscious and Subconscious Beliefs
Often, the meaning we attach to loss and belief system we create exists in the unconscious and subconscious, without our being aware of them.
In order to mitigate unconscious and subconscious detrimental beliefs, it is important to fully process and reconcile all loss experienced. This involves the following:
Acceptance – full acceptance involves accepting one’s own death to the extent that we feel fully safe (as safe as possible) with the idea that even when it comes to dying, we have nothing to worry about. We will always be “ok”. We can also accept that we cannot avoid death, and so acceptance will benefit us more than worry or fear, since it is unavoidable. Worrying or being afraid does nothing to help us, it actually harms us more. Once we can appreciate the feeling of peace associated with being fully safe, it becomes much easier to accept the death of others or loss of anything. Full acceptance can be difficult to attain, so moving toward full acceptance may be the best we can do.
Forgiveness – a key element of acceptance and processing of the acceptance is forgiveness. We must practice acceptance because we often have an idea or fantasy that things should be, could be, or are desired to be different. As our subconscious is constantly defining our environment, it creates expectations that we may not be in our conscious awareness. Therefore, when loss occurs, we may mentally think it’s okay and we are fine, yet our unconscious may have expected things to be different. When something happens that does not align with our unconscious expectations, our unconscious psyche sends fight/flight/freeze/panic signals into our consciousness. If we act out on these signals, we have a tendency to regret those actions. In order to avoid this cycle, we must forgive the situation for not living up to our expectations, ourselves for our reactions, and others for the actions or reactions to our reactions. Forgiveness is simple, yet not always easy. Practice saying “I forgive ____ for _____” over and over until there is no feeling associated with the statement except love.
Moving On – honor and celebrate the object or person and their impact on us and the world. Everything that happens in “our world”, as in each individual, is recorded in our nervous system. Therefore, our memories are a physical part each of us. If we can position those memories to be positive parts, they will help us grow in love and sustainability. They will then create positive, nurturing energy rather than negative, draining energy.
You have the ability in your own life to decide and process loss in a way that helps you live happier, healthier and freer in a sustainable fashion. And the one you lost would undoubtedly want the best for you, which comes with developing the positive, nurturing framework that allows you to enjoy life to the fullest.
If you’d like to learn how you can support your personal growth through our methodology, we are here to help. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today.
To help those who cannot afford the services of Pathwaves, consider donating to the Pathwaves Foundation. Please call (305) 858-6616 for more information.