You have identified an ending or loss, now what?
I wish I could say there were 5 easy steps but that would trivialize your loss.
There is a process to go through that may ease the process.
First, give yourself time and space to feel what you are feeling. Sadness, anger, frustration or ambivalence- all are allowed as you let go of something or someone. This means having compassion and patience with yourself when you think you should be “getting over it faster”.
Acknowledge the positives in what you are letting go of- even with an addiction or other self-hurtful pattern it worked for a reason…it gave you relief or distraction. What did you give you? What have you learned? As you acknowledge the aspects you will miss, you are clearing the way to think about what you need now to support yourself during this change.
Create a ritual or process to honor what you are letting go of. A letter to the person or substance lost, a tree you plant in their honor, something active that uses the whole self- your feelings, thoughts, and body. This integrates the many ways that grief inhabits our person. If possible, share this with a close friend or therapist so you have a witness and support.
Identify what you need to put into your life to support you. Is it comfort and guidance from others, time for prayer or meditation, physical exercise? Professional help and a support group can make the difference between staying stuck and gently moving through the stages of grief.
Begin to think of what is possible. Not nirvana but, what is possible for you now with the new reality of your life? As painful as it is, what may emerge as growth, new awareness or a direction for you in the next months? This is when we know we are coming out of the darkness…when we begin to have hope for the future.
As you go through this cycle of death and loss to new life, know that you are witnessing the truth of what it means to be human and that there others who are willing to walk this journey with you. I am one.
Also, check out my counseling website: www.ascendcounselingPA.com.