As we encounter loss throughout life, we can find it challenging to go through the grief process and cope with our loss. Enduring the pain of deep sorrow and understanding the various emotions is complicated. Culture teaches us how to attain and what to do when we succeed, but culture doesn't teach us what to do when we lose or experience grief. Because many of us are unaware of the process, we may suppress our pain or ignore the grieving process altogether. However, delaying the process will only compound our grief and cause more emotional pain. Here, we list six essential strategies to help you navigate and cope with grief and loss.
First, discover your “why.” Finding why is an essential part of the journey because, throughout the grieving process, you will have moments where you will want to give up on the process entirely. Grieving can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. And when you begin to face difficulties, you will want to recall the reason you started the process in the first place. Your “why” could be to live a more fulfilled, healthy life for yourself or your children if you have them. Whatever your why is, be sure to write it down and have it somewhere handy where you can read it often.
Second, Give yourself permission to grieve. Grief is a challenging mixture of emotional and mental struggles, and going through the process will also have its challenges. Permitting yourself means accepting everything that comes along with the grieving process. In the beginning, the process will feel uncomfortable, and you may experience moments where you don't believe you are strong enough to endure the journey. However, there is nothing uncommon about grieving a loss. Grieving is a normal and natural process of loss; however, parts of the grieving process will be ugly. As you permit yourself to go through the process, you must accept that there will be moments of deep pain, sadness, and weeping. Regarding grief, there is no one size fits all method, and what may have worked for someone else may not work for you. As you overcome the different challenges you will experience throughout the process, you will notice yourself becoming more emotionally and mentally vital to continue the journey.
Third, Lean on Others for Help. Community is an integral part of the journey, so instead of isolating yourself from others, allow your community to support you. When we experience tragedy and loss, we want to separate ourselves from those who love us. Grieving requires vulnerability, even if you have a history of isolating yourself from others and not expressing certain emotions. During times of loss, it is not the time to be alone. We should not do life alone; we need a robust and supportive community to help us overcome life's challenging moments and celebrate life’s greatest moments. Share your favorite stories of the person you lost. Be vulnerable, cry and allow your community to care for you as you journey through grief.
Fourth, Embrace Your Faith. Faith during the grieving process means believing that by trusting in God, acting on His principles, and developing healthy coping strategies, you will overcome grief, and grief will not overcome you. When we face difficulties, it is not uncommon to question God; however, asking God questions and accusing God of creating pain are two different things. Many times, we will want to walk away from our faith. When life takes an unexpected turn in the opposite direction of where we thought we were going, there can come a time when we question God. For example, why would He allow this to happen if God is so good? Or, if God loved me, why am I experiencing this type of pain? But, God never promised us a life free of trouble (John 16:33). But Jesus says when we have problems to take heart because He has overcome the world! As we develop a closer relationship with God, we can discover the principles of living a life of peace and joy even during deep pain.
Fifth, Seek out a Good Counselor or Grief Coach. It's important to understand that your counselor or coach is your advocate. As the experts, they will help you navigate forward in your grief journey. They can help you deal with triggers and feelings of being stuck. Therefore, seeking professional services such as a grief counselor or a grief coach can help you attain the tools and resources needed that will help you navigate through the process effectively. A counselor or a coach can help you journey through the past without getting stuck, and a coach will help you to build a new future after the loss.
Sixth, Grieve to grow. Grieving to grow is a concept I developed after my grieving process. I realized that after the sudden loss of my daughter, my life was not the same as I journeyed through the grieving process. Grief can have a negative impact on how you live life after loss. Grief affects your thoughts, which will affect your attitude and lead to developing negative habits and behavioral patterns. As you cope and heal from your loss, you can grow personally by developing healthy mental and emotional strategies. You will discover you are becoming more assertive, better, and different as you grieve. Since loss is not a one-time event, you can use what you've learned when grief happens again. The tools and wisdom you've gained will help you build a better life, personally and spiritually.