Give yourself sufficient time to grief over the loss of any kind if you wish to heal in a healthy manner.
How many times have we heard well-meaning friends urging us to “get over it quickly” when we experience the loss of someone or something?
The truth is we need time to grieve and heal. In fact, it is imperative that we do so. We can’t get over something quickly, we can only move on progressively.
Any kind of loss – be it disappointment, setback, the ending of something, any kind of parting, break-up with a partner and death of someone close – all these warrant proper grieving.
Grieving not only allows us to heal but gives proper closure. Closure enables us to move on. Create a little ritual to symbolically close the chapter – be it the burning, burying/sealing or setting free of certain objects of significance. It could also be a reaffirmation of one’s stand by simply writing down a statement in one’s diary/blog or notebook. Rituals play a therapeutic role besides providing closure.
Attempting to numb one’s feelings through drinks, drugs or work would not work either. That only serves to temporarily suppress one’s feelings. Suppressing one’s feelings would only backfire. Any suppression only serves to intensify the relapse – feelings would return a lot stronger, violent and unpredictable.
Pent-up emotions build-up into unresolved emotions – they are unhealthy for one’s psychological health and may even lead to psychological problems like depression or anxiety, later on. Rushing through the grieving process aggravates the problem as a relapse may hit you in a sudden and uncharacteristic manner, like an over-reaction to something minor.
So how should one deal with such losses? Be aware of one’s feelings but do not resist them. Allow emotions to run their course. If feelings are allowed to run their course naturally; most of the time, they tend to end their run earlier too. In short – just let it be, let it pass.
However, this does not mean that one does so in a passive manner. It is not the same as letting one’s feelings take control over oneself. Being actively aware of one’s feelings and not reacting to them is the key to a successful recovery.
Positive ways to help work through one’s feelings include journal writing, talking and sharing with close friends/family members/or someone whom you feel close to, physical exercise, joining a support group and therapy.
Give oneself time to heal but do not dwell on it forever. Most importantly, do not wallow in self-pity or misery nor adopt a ‘victim mentality’. Once you’ve grieve enough, move on.
The million-dollar-question obviously is,”How long is long enough?”
Well, unfortunately, there is no magic answer.
It depends on the severity of the loss. It also differs from one person to the other. Each one of us is a unique individual. Hence, everyone has a different time frame for moving through grief. There is no hard and fast rule.
You may even jump through different stages of grief instead of moving in a linear progression. Revisiting a stage just when you taught you had gotten over it is normal. Do not panic. They come in wavers; there is an ebb and flow to it.
Follow your heart, for only your spirit knows when it has healed. Give yourself permission to grieve at your own pace. Friends and relatives mean well when they want us to “get over it quickly” because they care about us. However, only we ourselves or rather our hearts; know the best time to stop grieving.
Resisting or burying one’s emotions would only move it somewhere else – ignoring them would not make them disappear. Cutting-off one’s feelings prematurely and abruptly only serve to bring them on later in an often more severe manner.
Allow yourself to feel the loss fully; then you would feel ready to embrace life again.
Let your grief unfold naturally if you wish to heal in a healthy manner.
Note: First published on buzzle.com on 29 July 2008