You don’t have to be a therapist to know that letting go is one of the hardest things for people to deal with. Letting go can range from letting go of our comfort zone, letting go of fears, letting go of old identities when our career changes, letting go of friends and loved ones who don’t want to be with us anymore, letting go of children as they become adults, letting go of hopes and dreams that are no longer possible, and letting go of loved ones that have passed away, humans and animals alike.
The pain and anguish of these endings can be unbearable. Heartache, soul-crushing grief, the unknown of what’s next….it’s a difficult life experience to navigate.
So how do you get through it? Here’s some ideas:
1. Don’t be an island. We are built for being in community--we are made to support each other. Reach out to other friends, loved ones, mentors, helpers, even a therapist or coach if you’re feeling really lost. There’s no reason to expect of yourself that you get through any major challenge all by yourself. That is not a badge of honor, that is a badge of loneliness. No matter who you are or what you've done, there are people willing to help you. If it calls for it, there's even a 24/7 national crisis texting line with people eager to assist.
2. This is also a great time to turn to nature for inspiration and guidance. As I write this blog, we are in the season of letting go, autumn in the northern hemisphere. The trees lose their leaves and the Earth will soon go dormant for winter. But the springtime always comes, without fail. New hope and healing will come for you, too, just like it does in nature, because we are a part of nature, too. Life is cyclical, just like nature.
Can you imagine a tree trying to keep its leaves from falling? Or a snake trying to keep it's skin from shedding? Pretty silly to imagine, isn't it? Let them teach you how to bravely go through the transformative process that emotions bring us.
3. Remember: Emotion = energy in motion; therefore, no emotion lasts forever.
We have to allow the process to occur, though, and we do that by letting the emotions move through us rather than by stuffing them down. If your emotions are too intense for you at the moment, plan a timed "emotional release" session with a friend, mentor or therapist so that someone can be with you while you let your emotions process. You don't have to do it all in one day. And after you have that session, do something fun to reward yourself!
4. Give yourself grace, comfort and time to properly grieve and heal. it’s important to let the feelings of grief run their course, no matter how much you want to stuff them down and try to ignore them. We really are happier, healthier and heal faster when we let ourselves experience our emotions in the moment. This doesn’t mean you have to do it perfectly, and it doesn’t mean you have to experience it all in one day. You can titrate it and take all the time that you need. Allow yourself to be needy for a bit. Allow yourself to ask for comfort. Make space for comfort and healing and stumbling through it all. You deserve it. There is no need for rushing yourself or adding the "2nd arrow" of suffering to the process.
5. Where to find joy? It may be more of a challenge right now, but it will return, just like springtime. Look for the little things that bring you joy amidst the pain. When you make the effort to consciously look for them, you will be pleasantly surprised and delighted by what you notice. They will add up, and they will feed your soul, bit by bit. Like warm soup on a winter day.
6. Find inspiration in books, movies, poems, podcasts. Read stories of other people and how they got through the same challenges you are facing. Let it inspire you and give you the hope and the courage you need to keep moving forward. ex) Fallen Leaf Story. The Guest House Poem. The Sweet Taste of Grief Poem
Aligned with this is to keep a positive news source on hand so that you can balance out the negative news of the world. The Good News Network is my personal favorite.
7. Keep a journal, not only to process your feelings and get them out on paper, but also because perhaps your story will be an inspiration to someone else in the future. Imagine that!!
8. When you're feeling all jumbled up and discombobulated, get your physical body and energy body aligned so that you can be present with your mental/emotional body. How? Try a 5-minute dance jam, 5-minute tantrum (really!), go barefoot outdoors, practice Yoga or Tai Chi or Qi Gong, brain dump journaling, meditate outdoors, or immerse yourself in water--ocean/lake, bathtub, whatever you have available!
Then ask yourself, "How do I feel now? What do I want & need right now?" And take good care of yourself!
Tell me about a major life transition you’ve been through recently. What got you through to the other side? Are you still going through it? Do you need support navigating your current life situation? Let’s talk. I prefer Therapy. I prefer Coaching. ( what’s the difference? )