Are your feelings of loss preventing you from having a healthy and fully satisfying life?
A Self-Assessment Tip Sheet
How do we know when loss is taking over our ability to live a full life? Sometimes, WE don’t see it, but I am quite confident in saying that others usually do see it. Shouldn’t we know ourselves better than anyone else? Let’s turn on that little bulb and shine some light on the topic.
We have the face we project outward; then there is that persona that only we can see that generally resides beneath. In simple terms, that “inside person” brings with it a lot of non-verbal language, movement and facial expression that we may be completely unaware of. Are you surprised to hear this? How many times has someone you know well, or even not so well, said to you….”what’s wrong today? is something wrong? you don’t seem yourself”. Can we really hide our inner emotions and turmoil as cleverly as we think? And to take that a step further, what if tragic or significant loss is limiting our daily experience simply because we are not facing it’s impact. Even if the loss is affecting 1 day in our life, it is affecting that very day from being a day in full.
Loss that is at the heart of our discontent can do just that – show in our physical movements, our non-verbal language and our facial expressions. Actually, this is the body’s second line of defense. When we are in turmoil, sadness, confusion, anger, worry and fear, our outer bodies will begin to give clear messages as to what is going on inside. That means there is a first line of response somewhere else. That “somewhere else” would be inside the body; the heart, the blood, the lungs, the stomach and the brain. Sometimes long before we are showing our struggle on the surface where people can notice, our bodies have been doing their best to cope and put us in better balance from within, often without success. Humm, I don’t think I want that to happen, do you?
Loss happens to everyone. Loss of some kind is unavoidable for all of us. Life is imperfect. Sometimes, however, we are determined that the loss will minimally affect our daily life, regardless of the severity. Instead, we will bluster through whatever the tragedy is, bury the worry and the affect it is having, and simply carry on. As many of you may already know, my loss centers around the suicidal death of my son Drew 6 years ago. Other losses can be just as tragic and life-changing: loss of home, mobility, self-image, self-esteem, work, livelihood, job, relationship, mental stability, even personal freedom.
Having said all of that, allow me to provide some self-assessment tips for those who are suffering loss, and the journey toward recovery seems laden with speed-bumps. These tips are coming directly from my book Let Go and Let Love: Survival of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, a book that targets ways to address the desire to live each day toward a full life.
- Take a good look in your bathroom mirror. Try to look beyond the traditional definition of perfection, beauty, flawlessness blah. What you should look for is some radiance from within; the eyes, the corners of your mouth, your expression of softness. Are they there or are they missing? Do you look worried? Do you look unmotivated? Do you look exhausted?
- Consider what is rolling around your head for the days’ events or targets. Are you expectant or doubtful? Is there anticipation on your mind or avoidance and fatigue? Do you have a plan, however small, or are you avoiding the thought of moving forward?
- Do you engage with others willingly? Is there interest in what is going on around you or do you find that your thoughts perpetually stray to what is going on inside your own head? Is loss consuming a lot of what you think about; how it bothers you, how it seems to hurt or change your direction?
- Can you be happy for others’ success? Are you genuinely delighted when someone else has found or achieved something for themselves? Or do you resent what they have gained, what you do not have, and feel cheated for yourself?
- Are you often ill, feel “unwell”, and unwilling to push for activity? When you look in that mirror, do you see someone in good health or do you see something else?
If you are being targeted by inquiries from friends asking “what is wrong” and you actually are surprised by this; or, you suspect that those inquiries made early on have actually stopped after a reasonable period of time, try answering these 5 questions honestly. We can all feel down and out every once in a while, but it should not be a daily occurrence nor should it fully color the waking hours we face, day in and day out. If you think that loss and the sadness that comes with it are stopping your journey to a full life, please seek the advice of a medical professional. Follow through with all that you need to do to be and feel healthy. Our losses should not be dictating how we live, nor should it interfere with finding happiness in each day. It is our God-given right to experience peace and joy. Let us never give it away to loss.
Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, CreateSpace Publishing, $12.87, paperback and ebook available now at Amazon or purchase direct from Survivor Healing.
CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet