How Long Will You Grieve?

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We’ve all come face to face with grief at one point or another in our lives. Whether we grieved over the end of a relationship, the loss of a friend or family member, the loss of anything of importance to us, a disappointment, or a failure.

There 5 stages of grief have been pretty well publicized. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. At this point in time, there is a website fully dedicated to Grief. Literally. Grief.com is the top website that comes up when you google “the 5 stages of grief.”

Popular culture has taken the 5 stages of grief very literally by reenacting each stage in neat and concise order as if going through grief is a formulaic experience. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), real grief doesn’t prescribe to any such formula. It’s different for everyone and every experience.

For some, they may feel stuck in a fog of anger, others may spend more time in depression with bursts of bargaining and denial. Some may feel that they’ve reached acceptance only to slide back into anger. Some may just feel numbness with no real grasp of what true emotions they’re feeling.

Where are you in your grief? How long have you been there? I believe that we have to give ourselves permission to let go of our grief. If we’ve been grieving for long enough, it becomes a comfortable state of being. Even though it is an uncomfortable habit to maintain emotionally, it has a way of becoming familiar and almost second-nature to live in this constant state of lack. Consistently reminding ourselves of what is no longer here. It’s almost as if we completely forget how we lived before the grief – not to mention, before we even had whatever it was that is now gone.

But holding on to grief is simply one more form of holding on to the past and denying ourselves the full experience of the present.

There are many ways that we deny ourselves of the present moment which has been gifted to us. Each of them fall under the categories of either overanalyzing the future or ruminating over the past.

Leaving the door cracked

Sometimes it’s easier and more reassuring to leave the door to something that’s dead and gone open just a crack. It’s nice to hold on to some form of hope that what we’ve lost might come back to life. That there might be a second chance. That it might heal itself. It’s nice to feel these things in the moment but the longer that you feel the hope and see no positive results, the more excruciating it gets.

Leaving the door cracked just leads to cracks in your heart. Every time you stood at the door waiting for a car to pull up – crack.  Sat by the phone waiting for it to ring – crack. Stared at your email waiting for that letter of good news – crack. There comes a time where you have to close the door to save yourself. Heal yourself from the past aches and open your heart to new opportunities – new joys. They’re waiting for you. You would notice them if you would look away from your wounds long enough for your white blood cells to work their magic and heal you.

How magical is it that we have to ability to heal ourselves. Like superheroes.We get cut and bruised in the battle of life sometimes but if we continue on with life and leave our wounds alone, they manage to heal themselves without us doing anything.

Give your body permission to heal itself. Give your heart permission.

~616 | Day 19~

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