When death occurs, we are often left feeling a lack of love and the missing of being loved by the person who has died. A necessary and possible response to this lack of feeling loved within us is to begin to learn self-love, self-care, and self-compassion by keeping your heart open to love. This concept is not an easy one and requires a commitment to self and a desire for more. Living in grief can create a feeling of lack, which will naturally increase intrusive thoughts of feeling less than or “not able to.” Staying in grief can be a barrier to receiving love, even from Self.
Self-love through grief is a deliberate, conscious choice to choose YOU. This choice takes courage, vulnerability, commitment, and consistent practices to create positive self-awareness.
Choosing to love yourself can create a feeling of comfort and protection to wrap around the pain and loss of your grief. It will remind you of your inherent values and the need to honor your heart space when your headspace may be pushing you forward in a different direction.
Here are some practices to support this choice:
❤ Begin with self talk – For every thought of self-doubt, respond with a positive affirmation. Be your own loving voice of compassion and reassurance. Replace the doubts and criticism that come with grief by reminding yourself of your strengths, of who you are even as you struggle. Believing this will help you become your own best friend.
Capable of healing and growing through my grief
Adapting and allowing
Capable of asking for and receiving help
Non judging towards Self
❤ Write yourself a love note – Stretch your thinking around this!
I am proud of myself for ________________________. I never imagined I could make it through one moment without__________________ and here I am, making it one day at a time.
___________________ time has passed, and I am still here. Still trying. I never thought I could _________________________ and now I know I can! I am stronger than I believed possible. I just ____________________.
Living life in grief, I am learning that ______________________ helps me feel more competent, capable, comfortable, and resilient. (Make a list of all these things and do one of these things each day!)
❤ Write a strength-focused list of what you are learning
I am learning……….
To be gentle with myself
To trust myself
To practice self-care
To let go of what keeps me stuck (guilt, shame, regret, perfectionism, judgement of self and others, comparison, self-criticism, self-doubt)
To identify, focus on and grow my Strengths
❤ Schedule daily self-care practices
Be in nature. Take a walk. Have coffee with a friend. Order your favorite meal. Get a massage. Buy yourself flowers. Meditate. Join a support group. Take a class. Engage in a positive distraction (yoga, playing music, knitting, painting, dancing, playing a game on your phone). Volunteer your time to help another.
❤ Journal daily three things you are proud of and grateful for that you accomplished
❤ Schedule one thing each day that allows you to feel connected, cared for and able to breathe more comfortably
Remember, your thoughts, feelings, choices matter. You matter.
Loving yourself through grief will not take the grief away, or reduce the longing for what was, yet it will help you to counterbalance living with your grief. Grief can take us to a level of loneliness that is unimaginable. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and dealing with the unpredictability and the unknown……choose LOVE.
Choose to love yourself as you would your most cherished person who died. Replace self-defeating and self-limiting thoughts with affirmations. Treat yourself with compassion, understanding, and support. Love yourself. You are here and deserve to be loved.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. What do you choose? We recommend you choose LOVE ❤
Lizanne Chisholm, LPC