📖 How to re-claim your story on lossApr 13, 2023
A loved one dying is a fact.
You create the story around it.
What was once a story of tragedy in the early months of grief, can become a story of resilience, inspiration and rebirth years later.
You can’t change the facts of the past. But you can control the narrative as you move forward.
In order to do so, it’s helpful to understand how your conditioning (ie. family upbringing and societal, religious & cultural beliefs) and past trauma affect your present experience of loss. These influences shape your perception of death, struggle, pain and hardship and affect your ability to bounce back.
Keep reading to learn how to make these beliefs conscious to re-claim your story of loss as you write the next chapter!👇🏽
1. Understand your OLD STORIES
Often old wounds get projected onto current losses and amplify your grief. Get curious about if and how your past plays a role in your grief. Ask yourself:
- How were emotions handled in my family? Were emotions welcomed or discouraged?
- How was death, grief & loss dealt with? Was it talked about or kept secret? How do my religious or cultural beliefs influence my understanding of death and/or hardship? How do they inform the way I grieve?
- *What was my childhood like? Did I have a reliable parent figure? Or was I left to raise / support myself alone?
- *What past trauma have I experienced? (remember that trauma is subjective, but if it feels traumatic to you then it is!)
*If you feel activated by digging into your old wounds, it’s best to seek professional counsel from a therapist.
2. Process the CURRENT STORY
Talking about, remembering and making sense of the way your person died is painful and necessary. You can process your story by writing about it, sharing on
social media, talking to a therapist or grief coach, or connecting with others who have experienced a loss. All of these activities help you integrate the story of your loss into your life.
The more you process and share, the more you normalize the experience of loss, make peace with the story, and also discover new themes emerging from the plot line.
3. Feel the FACTS
To be bereaved means to be literally torn apart. This happens at a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level and is a deeply painful, yet transformative process.
So allow yourself to feel whatever is coming up for you. Express your grief through …
- Journaling about how you're feeling
- Making a video or voice note
- Moving your body in a way that embodies specific emotions
- Talking about what’s coming up for you with a therapist, coach or in grief group
- EMOTING - scream & yell, sit in sadness, cry until the tears stop!
Your feelings are valid. They are real…thus need to be felt.
Once you move the energy through and feel more calm and connected, you can then get curious if the feeling was driven by a story (or not).
4. Separate the FACTS from the STORIES
Your person dying is a fact. Notice what meaning you are assigning to it. What stories are you creating? Some common ones to consider:
- I will feel this way forever
- I am the only one who has lost like this
- My life is completely ruined
- Bad things only happen to me
- If only I had done _____ then he would be alive!
These statements might feel true in deep grief, but try to be aware of how these thoughts might be adding to your suffering. Having a guide to help you untangle the stories can collapse time around this process.
5. Search for NEW THEMES
Loss is pervasive as hell, and losing a loved one will always be tragic. But, can you begin to weave in new themes as well? Can you start to hold room for the “good” that can come from the “bad”?
Consider how your experience of loss has changed ..
Your perspective on life:
- Do I sweat the “small things” less?
- Do I feel more grateful?
- Do I take less for granted?
Possibilities in life:
- How have my values changed?
- What gives me meaning and purpose now?
- How do I want to live my life now?
- How am I more resilient?
- What coping skills have I developed?
- Do I feel more connected to myself?
These are the gifts of grief and they don’t minimize the gap – ie. all that is lost in the void. So the question is, can you weave these into the plot as well?
6. Write the NEXT CHAPTER
Once you separate the facts of the death from the story, and begin to see that the death of a loved one does not condemn you to a life of darkness and tragedy – you can begin to write your next chapter.
You control the narrative!
Some ways that you can integrate your chapter of loss into your larger story is to:
- Use the lessons of loss to create a life of intention and purpose moving forward
- Live your life in a way your person would be proud
- Honor their legacy by talking about them and sharing their story
- Share your story to help others in similar circumstances
In doing so…you create your own LEGACY with your story!
If you found these tips helpful, I invite you to save this post, share with someone who could benefit, or join me for Grief Expressed, a six-week LIVE writing immersion to heal, share and re-claim your story on loss!
LEARN MORE In this FREE 90-min workshop, I’ll teach you how to free yourself from old plots and re-write the narrative on your story of loss so that you can find tremendous purpose and meaning in life moving forward without your loved one.
I do this transformative work with clients who have invested multiple four-figures in their healing and growth, and now I’m sharing my unique methodology with you!
I hope to "see" you there, friend. 🖤
Love & light,
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