Are you having trouble getting over a loss?

Do you know how to effectively feel sadness?

While loss is a natural stage of life– coping with loss, abandonment, death and heartbreak– can become difficult.

Unless you were raised in a culture that respects the process of grieving and provides healthy models for how to effectively express these feelings, you’re likely having to make it up for yourself as you go along.

Trained to avoid sadness

You may instead be trained by our de-sensitized, capitalistic culture which is desperate to minimize the presence of grief and loss, instead celebrating optimism and self-improvement. You were likely taught how to minimize your own feelings of loss, by existing in a bigger world where there is not much tolerance for sadness, philosophical reflection, rage, depression, confusion, social withdrawal, and a sense of defeat. 

What to do instead

You aren’t educated about “what to do” when we encounter these negative feelings in yourself or in others. 

Good natured attempts at compassion, e.g., “Just get over it” or “You’re so much better off now,” “Think of all the good things,” or “The person (whom died) wouldn’t want you to be so sad,” or, “Replace your loss with a new ____,” or “___(the loss) was years ago, get over it?” usually end up silencing the truth of what you are feeling.

When your feelings aren’t recognized by others or yourself, you have to develop coping mechanisms.

You may cope by distraction, (of which our culture is extremely adept at providing). Over-working, over-eating, overspending, over-sexing, over-medicating, or withdrawing in other ways, are common. These methods may work in the short-term to keep pain at bay, but don’t resolve deeper feelings of loss and grief. Further, as life continues on, continued unresolved grief can build up and create rigidity and unhappiness.

“Tears come from the heart, not the brain, “  Leonardo Da Vinci. 

Designed for sadness

We feel sad, fundamentally, because we are human. We can’t feel true joy without knowing sadness. Denying this emotion is like extracting a core piece of ourselves. However, when you hurt, you, like lots of others, rely on your brain, guilt or critical judgement to protect yourself from feeling sadness. After listening to people describe relationship break ups for years, most say, “I should have known. How could I be so stupid,” as if this revisionist intellectual analysis is first of all, correct and secondly, can help how the heart feels.

Your heart hurts

You usually don’t start with the essential truth, “My heart is so ____ (shattered, bruised, sliced, flattened, shredded), you fill in the blank. 

Acknowledging you are supposed to feel sad when sad things happen is a first step. Making sure you don’t deny sadness–converting it into numbness, embarrassment or anger– is next. Finally, having tools to  express feelings of sadness to others who are safe and supportive is the last important step in taking good care of sadness.

Giving yourself a non-hurried, non-judgmental space to navigate grief can be invaluable. The brain and heart need time to make sense of what’s happened. As a result, you can authentically move past agony and into consolidation, which allows you to be more present again in your own life. You can feel genuinely happy, not like you are faking a performance of being okay.

It’s fascinating how sometimes we can be so unfamiliar with these fundamental areas of our own selves simply because we never thought to look deeper.

What’s Next for Me?

Your own self knowledge is your most powerful asset in life. Stimulate the conversation with yourself and your loved ones.

Begin by asking yourself:

  • How important are my feelings on this subject to me?
  • Am I being mean to myself?
  • Do I need support?

Read our E-book Love Sex Trust: An Overview

Let it all simmer, until you’re ready for more.

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