Grief is a natural response to lost love. As mere mortals, we all will experience the death of a loved one. Most of us also experience the death of a loving relationship due to divorce or a break up.
The way you deal with lost love is a Love Test that may block love or free you to love again. You’re about to learn how to survive the natural stages of grief, and revive your desire to love freely and deeply again.
How do you face the feelings of grief?
Grieving lost love can feel like a tidal wave of pain that hits often and without warning. Because grief can be so painful, some of us try to escape the pain or get over lost love quickly by denying the pain.
Studies show that when people don’t deal with the emotions of grief, the pain does not go away. It can be buried inside, and rise up in negative ways. Some people may be stuck in one phase of the grieving process and they need help in understanding and healing their heartbreak.
What are the common stages of the grieving process?
Most often you may feel several emotions at the same time, in varying intensity, during these stages of grief:
If a loving relationship ends suddenly, shock is often your first reaction. You may be numb and go through the motions of living while feeling nothing. You may experience physical symptoms such as confusion and loss of appetite.
After initial shock wears off, you may not want to accept the reality that your relationship is over. You may fantasize that your beloved will return to you as if nothing has happened.
You may feel anger that you were betrayed and abandoned by your departed love. You may be angry at yourself for not doing enough to save your relationship. Your anger may be mild or it may cause irrational thoughts or behavior.
You may be haunted by angry words, selfish actions, or things you could have done to improve your relationship, if only you had known it was about to end.
Once your anger has been exhausted, sadness may set in. You may feel alone and afraid. You may have little energy to get through your daily routine. You may try to stop yourself from crying or experience crying episodes.
Time alone does not heal grief, unless you take certain actions. Acknowledging lost love and experiencing the pain may free you from a yearning to return to the past. Remembering the love and using your loving memories to create a new life without your loved one may free you to search for new relationships and new activities.
When you face the pain of grief, you may seek meaning in lost love and find a healthy path out of your pain. With your love lessons learned, you may feel renewed energy to revive your dreams, begin new activities and create new relationships. This is your path toward healthy personal growth.
You may feel a new compassion for yourself as a result of the pain you have experienced. You may treat yourself with more kindness and become more sensitive to others, which frees you to enjoy richer relationships. You may discover your new strength, emotional resources and independence that delights you and frees you for new life and new love.
How do you step onto the path of personal growth when you are stuck in grief?
Feel Your Pain
Realize that grief is cyclical, so expect the emotions to come and go for weeks, months or even years, depending on the duration and depth of the loving relationship that you lost. Know that you have a natural need to express and release your sadness, even if it arises when you wish it would be long gone.
Talk About Your Sorrow
Seek comfort from friends who will listen. Tell them you need to talk about your loss. If they change the subject, they may not know how to respond to your sadness. Turn to a pastor or life coach to help you over the hurdles of grief.
Forgive yourself for all the things you believe you should have said or done. Forgive yourself for the anger or embarrassment you may have felt while grieving lost love.
Eat Well and Exercise
Grief will drain your energy. To revitalize, nourish your body with whole, unprocessed foods. Get out in nature and do some daily exercise – perhaps walks or bike rides with friends, or in solitude. Exercise endorphins will clear your mind and refresh your body.
Take naps, read a good book, listen to your favorite music, soak in a hot tub, go to a ball game, rent a movie. Do something each day that is fun, distracting and comforting.
Take Daily Steps to Create a New Life
Seek a creative outlet to vent your grief. Write it out in a journal, sing or dance it out, laugh or cry it out by watching comedies or tear jerkers.
Releasing grief will revive your energy to look for interesting things to do: Take courses, volunteer to coach a team or work for a pet cause, find a new job, meet new people when you sign up for a lunch-time matchmaking or online dating service.
It is often tempting to try to replace the person who has been lost before you heal your heartbreak. Doing so may set you up for more heartbreak, since your new relationship will not be established in healthy emotional ground and most likely will end in a break up.
Once you understand and work through each stage of grief over lost love, you will pass this painful Love Test and feel ready to love freely and deeply again.