Breaking up, getting divorced and the death of your partner are among the biggest loss events in life.
There are three important things to remember:
- Grief is the reaction to a loss event
- Grieving is the normal, natural, and necessary process that restores us to wholeness
- Grieving is a wholly feeling experience
Grieving is as unique as your fingerprints. No two people will react to the same loss event in the same way and no two people will grieve the same way.
The cognitive or thinking part of self is not the grieving part of self. Think of your personal energy as being 100%. In a perfect world, 50% of your personal energy is your outside self and 50% of your personal energy is your inside self.
The job of the outside self is to think, assess, evaluate, make decisions, go to work, pay your bills, read the paper, plan for your future, remember to send your mother a birthday card; behaviors that occur outside of you.
The job of the inside self is to feel your feelings, be creative, intuitive, inspired, insightful, spiritual, intimate, passionate, joyful, compassionate; experiences that occur inside you.
If you fall down and injure your leg, the blood supply leaves parts of your body and goes to the injured leg to help it heal. You will respect the injury, modify your physical activity, not stress or otherwise re-injure the injured leg, and allow it time to heal.
Similarly, it is correct to think about the injury to your emotions as an emotional rupture. Your normal, natural, and necessary emotional response to an emotional rupture includes shock, numbness, disbelief, anger, sheer terror, and many other feelings and physical body responses.
Much of the energy of your outside self has been redirected inward, to the inside self, much like the blood being directed away from some parts of the physical body and redirected to the injured part of the physical body.
Following a loss, the ratio of outside to inside energy is more like 10% outside self-energy and 90% inside self-energy. A lot of the energy of the outside self has been sent to support the emotional rupture of the inside self.
So, logically that means that thinking, making decisions, going to work, paying your bills, and many of the other daily tasks of the outside self (moving on, getting back to normal) won’t get done anytime soon. There simply isn’t enough outside-self energy at this moment.
It also means you may be feeling fatigued, lack motivation, focus, and concentration…all activities of the outside self. Stop having unrealistic expectations of yourself because a lot of your energy has been redirected from your outside self to your inside self to help heal the emotional rupture and allow your heart time to heal.
Don’t expect that you will return to “business as usual,” “move on,” “get back to normal,” without sufficient time to walk the path of grieving; to give yourself time to restore your sense of safety, regain your sense of balance inside and outside, and reorganize your thinking and coping strategies.
Trust what you know, deep in the place where you know it. Honor your courage and respect the tenderness of your heart and your soul. Tell the truth about your limitations and your vulnerability. They are your strengths! You are the exquisite reflection of your humanness!! Your reactions are completely normal, natural, and necessary.
Take very good care of you. You deserve it!
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
You are invited to stay in the know by listening to
Dr. Jackie’s Relationship-focused Podcast