How to Heal From a Loss


I was apprehensive about starting 2015…

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It’s been a decade since I graduated high school, which seems to weigh heavily on most people, I think. It’s often symbolized as a marker of growth and achievement as we get ready to showcase what we’ve been up to after all this time (if we attend).

It’s also been a decade since I lost the man who raised me as his only child. Being 18 and leaving home for the first time is jarring. Being 18, leaving home for the first time, and losing the man you knew as “dad” to suicide will level your existence. But I am on the other side of that now, and I love my life today.

Our innate ability to heal is astounding to me. The old standard is true: it just takes time. Before I healed, I made a series of bad decisions. I also gained over fifty pounds and completely lost all sense of who I was, who I wanted to be, and what I was doing with my life. I could write a book on each of those subjects, but for now I will focus on the positive: I pulled through and you will also pull through.

Life will be full of events that make you stronger, but it is up to you to allow that strength to lift you out of the darkness. Some days will be easy and some days will feel like life is kicking you when you are already down. But you can’t give up–you owe it to yourself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, because what is waiting on the other side is miraculous.

And by miraculous, I mean that you will wake up one day and smile and feel loved and the sun will be shining, and you will realize you haven’t been sad in a long time. Maybe you will be your “goal size” or have a gorgeous spouse that loves you, or a beautiful child that adores you, or live in your dream house. Maybe you will be the CEO of an awesome company or save hundreds of people from a burning building (you never know!). The point is, if you don’t get up when you are down, you will never know what lies ahead. So this is how I reached that point after years of angry, bitter resentment and self loathing (it was bad for a little while).

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Forgive Yourself

Yes, forgive yourself for anything and everything you are feeling, and anything that has happened. Forgive, forgive, forgive. You are human and going through a lot. You will make mistakes. Tell yourself you forgive yourself daily. When you forgive yourself, you are strengthening the connection you have with your mind and soul. I believe the mind, body and soul can be at conflict when we are going through tough times. Your mind and body may be acting out in ways that interrupt what your soul is trying to do, which is heal from this. Forgiving yourself is the first step in moving on, and you must move on to heal.

Forgive Others

Just as important as forgiving yourself, is forgiving others. I learned the hard way that we cannot expect others to understand what we are going through. And so, we cannot assume that the other people in our lives will be there at all times for us. The hard truth is: they won’t. Most will not know how to be there for us and might be uncomfortable while trying to be, and so we may assume that they don’t care. They do care. They aren’t sure how to show us. Forgive them.

If your difficult time is the result of someone else’s actions, forgive them even more. Try hard to realize that in order to hurt someone else by their actions, they must have been (or currently are) in a very bad place. You can’t fix other people, but you can forgive them and grow from the experience. Remember, you are healing. You are gaining strength.

Accept the Present

This was the absolute hardest for me, and it took the most time. Accept what is and accept that you cannot go back in time. You will reach a point when you are tired of living in the past, I promise. Until then, try hard to realize that you will never propel forward unless you let go. There are beautiful things awaiting you, if you allow yourself to see them. I started accepting the present by forgiving myself, forgiving others and then only focusing on the day ahead. Try to make your present better in any way you can. Buy fresh flowers, light a good candle, breathe, clean, decorate, rearrange, anything. Remember, you are healing. You are getting stronger. You will pull through.

Acknowledge Small Victories

Gather your support, whoever or whatever that may be (pets included) and celebrate the small victories. Maybe you didn’t cry today–that’s a win! Maybe you didn’t yell at anyone or even raise your voice. Maybe you stayed sober. Be proud of your progress every step of the way. Writing was my release and celebration at the same time. It felt good to read a good ending to my day for a change. Then I imagined what my next day might be like if I had two victories, or three, and so on. You will get there.

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May you have a beautiful day, strong one.

Love & Light,

Carissa

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