They say that time heals all wounds but I find this to be untrue. As time goes by we learn to adapt to loss. With every day that passes, we change. It is what we do with the time following a loss that defines who we will become going forward. Will we allow our sadness to overtake us and render us incapable of finding happiness or will be progress with purpose? Will we discover a new person within us who lives with zeal and passion? Will we discover that we do not like who we have become?
The first years after a loss often cause us to reflect on the past and who we used to be. For some, there can be a sense of urgency in achieving goals and realizing dreams. We become acutely aware of our own mortality and just how fleeting life really is. We wonder how we got to where we are and can be disappointed that life has not given us what we expected. We question our future and our previous decisions. We wonder if life would have been different if we would have chosen a different path.
To truly begin to heal we must stop engaging in self defeating thoughts. We must learn to accept this new life and appreciate it for what it holds. It is true that it may not be what we envisioned in our minds but that does not mean that it does not have value. It is critical that we find new and different joy. We must not allow our minds to revert back to a place where things were perfect and the grass was always green because it was not. You see our mind being the powerful muscle that it is has an interesting way of glamorizing the days of yesterday or elsewhere and having them to appear in our memories as glittery, flawless and gold. When we do this we compare our new life to the past thereby making it impossible to find joy. Here are a few steps to finding new joy:
Take a true inventory of whom and what you have in your life and begin to be grateful for every single person and thing.
Take some time away to a place that you find peaceful and makes you feel good.
Eliminate the things in your life that cause you stress.
Be honest about what you have gone through and lost. Write it down, say it out loud and look for ways to bless others with it. Your misery can become a ministry if you let it.
Be kind to yourself. Exercise, eat right, take a bubble bath and laugh as much as you can.
Do not compare yourself to other people. Your journey is yours alone and there is no right or wrong way to heal.
Learn new things. Take a class, teach a class and find a new hobby.
Surround yourself with like minded people.
Surround yourself with people who have already been through what you are currently going through.
It has been a difficult trip my friend and one that I am sure you never planned on taking. That being said, you will get through this. You will come out on the other side and if you trust the process.