Mourning the Death of a Relationship
Grief and mourning the end of a significant relationship is natural. It may look differently for everyone, but the stages of grieving a divorce or key relationship, are no different than grieving a death. You may feel the loss of the dream, intimate connection, security, trust, safety, faith in marriage or the divine, financial stability, emotional and physical support, loss of home or environment and mostly the loss of what you believed would be there for many years to come.
Authentic healing invites us to honor our sacred connections and their endings with reverence and willingness to process the full spectrum of emotions without resistance.
So how do we heal through this journey of loss and grief?
1. Make your Self-Care a Priority.
Begin with the basics: meditate, pray, stay hydrated, eat healthy foods, exercise, sleep, rest and restore. Do less for others than usual and focus on you, for awhile. Fill your inner-well with presence, self-love and nurturing. Get massages, spend time in nature, write in your journal, listen to music that inspires you, connect with compassionate friends who understand the depth of your loss and can hold sacred space with you. Be gentle with you. Ask for what you need from those who can give it.
2. Release yourself from the cultural Myths about Grief #freefromfalseparadigms
Our culture perpetuates misconceptions about loss and grief that can unwittingly shame those suffering. Grief can run deep, require support, patience and compassionate understanding to process fully.
Common myths about divorce, break ups or loss in general:
– You’ll be better off (or the deceased is better off)
– Time heals (Time is time. It does not heal – people heal);
– Stay strong (Tough it out; don’t get emotional);
– You’ll find someone else/better (Replace the loss);
– You’ll be so glad when this is over (Denial; as though you won’t also hurt);
– Expressing grief is a sign of not doing well or weakness; (Emotions are not weakness)
– Moving forward means you’re no longer mourning; (Forward may also include mourning still)
– Grief follows a linear path or a specific timeline; (Grief is a non-linear process that may endure)
– Because it was hard, you should be relieved; (You may be relieved and mourn simultaneously)
– You should be celebrating…. (You may feel horrible, even if its what you wanted)
Often well-meaning people offer these comments because they care about you and perhaps haven’t experienced this type of loss directly; do not understand loss and grieving; are uncomfortable with emotional processing; or they believe these myths. Don’t react, instead to educate yourself about the grief process and do not plug into the myths that can add to your pain, keep you feeling stuck, isolated and trapped in shame.
3. Feel Your Emotions Fully
Another culture myth is that feeling painful emotions is a weakness. #Bullshit Allow your feelings to rise up without judgment or needing to figure them out. Become a compassionate witness and steward to your emotions. Don’t distract, deny, minimize or stuff your feelings. Don’t buy into your negative self-talk either. Welcome whatever arises, with full attentiveness and compassionate presence to the immutable truth of your self-worth and capacity to heal. Grief that isn’t processed fully will remain in the body as trapped energy. As you practice being with your emotions and allowing them to move through you, you become the gentle and wise shaman to yourself.
4. Give Yourself Healthy Support
You do not have to navigate significant loss alone. Give yourself what you truly need as you process through the myriad feelings and experiences of change. Seek out a quality professional, spiritual adviser or someone you trust fully, who knows how to listen with full wholehearted presence and who will not attempt to fix you in any way. Give yourself sacred space to express your thoughts, feelings and concerns openly and without judgment. You are worthy of the support you need.
When you are going through a significant break up, divorce or coping with the loss of a loved one, you will need extra support, compassion and loving attentiveness from family, friends and yourself. Understand that grief is painful, it moves through stages in a non-linear manner and above all, it is natural. Ask your angels to lean in now as you breathe and consciously heal. Above all, be gentle with yourself.