Living with Grief

Grief – Deep sorrow, the natural response to a loss. The emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Many people associate grief with the death of a loved one, however any loss can cause grief. From the loss of friendships, relationships, pets, health, jobs to dreams or even selling the family home. One thing that I have learned about grief, is that each person experiences and handles it differently.

Grief can hit you in the most unexpected ways. There can be times when you think you are making progress, things seem to be looking up, and a song comes on the radio or you see something that reminds you of your loss and you are taken back to the pain. This recently happened to me and it was like getting hit with a wall of emotions. Everything changed in an instant, my mindset and how my body was feeling. It was the first time I realized what I was experiencing. As much as I tried to shift my mindset and stay busy, those feelings hung back there waiting for my mind to quiet down. Waiting for me to sit in them and sort through them. I think that is one of the hardest things, not brushing your feelings under the rug, but trying to navigate through them.

There are different stages of grief. A simple search online shows the original five stages that have now been amended to seven. The original five stages are highlight below.

Denial – This often come across as – “This can’t be happening to me.” Denial can also consist of not acknowledging your feelings, saying you are fine when you really aren’t.

Anger – If you have experienced any kind of loss, you more than likely have been angry, even if it was only for a short time. I have hit it. I have been angry, unable to understand, asking God questions that only He knows the answers too.

Bargaining – This one is just like it reads. When you are trying to make deals, this can often be with God or others depending on your situation.

Depression – This is the grief or sadness that hits you, sometimes out of no where.

Acceptance – When you come to peace with what has happened.

As I stated earlier, everyone grieves differently, some may go through all of these phases and some may not. Some may go in this exact order and some may jump around. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. You and you alone are entitled to your feelings. Do not let anyone else tell you how you should be feeling and don’t try to tell yourself how you should be feeling, remember there is not right or wrong way.

These are some things that I do to help with the grieving process; acknowledge and sit in your feelings. Feel the pain and know that things will get better. I also journal to help with this process. Pick up a new hobby or activity that brings you joy. Talk to someone, a support group or a counselor. Know that there is no quick fix, it takes time to heal. Know that you are not alone.

Sometimes it is hard to console people who are grieving. Sometimes no words are needed. Just having the mere presence that someone is there for you is enough for some people. If you know someone who is grieving or who is going through a hard time, don’t be afraid to reach out. We could all use a little more love in the world.

XOXOXO

Casey

Choose Forgiveness.

Forgiveness. Such a big word that packs so much meaning. It is the act or process of forgiving or being forgiven. To forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Forgiveness can sometimes be one of the hardest things to do, depending on what the other person has done to offend you. 

I have been mulling over this forgiveness issue for a while lately. I have often forgiven people for things they have done (even when they didn’t realize they did anything wrong). But how do you know when you have truly forgiven someone?

  • Time – one thing for sure, forgiveness takes time. There have been a few times where I said I have forgiven people, but honestly I hadn’t yet. I needed more time to feel, to work through whatever the issue was, and to move forward on my own time. Time is important.
  • When you can talk about what happened as a point of reference and not a point of pain – When talking about the issue no longer causes you hurt, you have reached forgiveness.
  • When revenge becomes a non-issue – If you reach the point of no longer trying to get back at someone for what they did to you, I would say you have reached forgiveness with them. 
  • When the lesson has been learned – sometimes when things happen, we don’t sit in the pain. We brush everything under the rug and go on with life. Then the same situation happens again and again, over and over. In this type of situation, learning through forgiveness allows for new boundaries to be set up. Boundaries, I have recently learned, are a very healthy thing to have. (Don’t worry, I have another blog on boundaries coming!)
  • Helping your offender – If something arised and the person that has hurt you needed help and you were able to help them and feel okay about it, you have probably reached forgiveness. 

Not only is forgiveness good for you emotionally, but there are some health benefits to forgiveness as well. Some of these include; less anxiety and stress, improved mental health, lower blood pressure, and improved heart health. 

Some hold on to grudges for ages, but think about what all you are missing out on. If you are so tied up being angry with someone else, you are missing out on all the good that is going on around you. I get it, you are probably saying, “Casey, you have no idea what they did to me”, but I bet I can relate in a small way. I have been through the abusive relationships, the liars, the cheaters, the people who take advantage, and raising a child on my own. I also understand that we as humans make mistakes, I know I have made my fair share. I have chosen the route of forgiveness, whether people have apologized or not.

Life to too short to constantly be hindered by something that happened in the past. Take the time to learn to forgive. It may take time, but I bet your heart will feel much lighter and happier. Choose Happiness. Choose Forgiveness.

Share some love, we could all use a little more love.

XOXOXO

Casey

Choose Joy.

I was recently watching Grey’s Anatomy and in one of the episodes, they were talking about happiness and joy. Looking for joy and finding some happiness or doing things that made you happy. The looking for joy, really hit me.

It is all about our mindset and how we choose to view things. I could wake up in the morning and be annoyed or irritated at work. I could be frustrated with my commute. I could just be an unhappy person to be around. Frustrated with my circumstances, finances, the way the world is going.

or

I could wake up and smile. I could feel the happiness. I could look for things throughout my day that bring me more and more joy. Did you know that when you smile, it helps your mood?

I recently started smiling when answering the phone and my overall mood on the phone is happier. Customers seem to be happier too. Talking with a smile on your face seems to help lift any mood.

All of this sounds so grand and easy. Wake up and be happy, choose joy. We all know it isn’t that simple though. There are going to be days that no matter how hard you try, it is hard to see the joy. You are going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed and not be able to fix it. There will be days where nothing seems to go right and there will be days where it all seems to fall apart. This is okay. The important part is that you keep trying. Every day. Keep trying to find ways to choose joy. Keep working on being kind to your neighbor. At a certain point, you won’t have to keep trying, it will just come naturally. I am on the path of trying, everyday, trying to be better than I was the day before. Choosing Joy. Choosing Happiness.

Just remember, joy doesn’t have to be some grand gesture or experience. It could be someone complementing your glasses or opening the door for you or complementing your shoes! It is the little things, they matter the most. While you are on the outlook for joy, don’t be afraid to show kindness to others. If you like someone’s outfit, tell them. Imagine the world we could live in, if people started paying attention to others and were nice. For my introverts, this is harder to do trust me I am right there with you. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You never know how much you can brighten someone’s day by complementing them though.

Choose Joy and Share some love, we could all use a little more love.