FOR THE BEREAVED: Letting go of the grief

We all have a story of our own life that contributed to the shaping of our characters, giving us our hang-ups or making us more self-aware.

We all have a story of our own life that contributed to the shaping of our characters, giving us our hang-ups or making us more self-aware.

In moving through our lives we are continually learning and growing and part of that growth is learning to let go of some of those painful events that contributed to the way we view our own lives if it is in a negative light. If we can count our blessings, usually we can see the many positive things that have come from a negative or painful experience.

If we experience the loss of someone near and dear, in time we can reflect on the lessons we learned from that person or maybe we get a chuckle from some old joke we shared. The positive emotions and warm feelings are the blessing.

We all want to “just be happy” but true happiness comes from within. Nobody can give it to us and material things usually only bring temporary happiness.

The feeling of joy or happiness comes from how we view events or people in our lives and our willingness to let go of negative or painful feelings to focus on the blessings that bring happy emotions.

Focusing on more positive thoughts eventually becomes much easier than focusing on things that make us feel badly or unhappy.

It starts with recognizing when we are allowing negative thoughts to interfere with our feelings of well-being and calmness. We have to stop ourselves from continuing that negative thought process and remind ourselves to think of the positive side of the issue.

We have to be firm with ourselves in not allowing this thought process to continue – when I get “in the loop” I tell myself “Stop! Think of something nice!”  I’ve realized that ruminating about something I can’t change serves no purpose in the quest for true inner happiness. It has been said that grief is the price we pay for loving.

Some might say that price is too high but for me, I’ll pay.

In learning to count my blessings, despite pain and loss, and discovering the willingness to let go of those things that I can’t change, has given me my own power over how happy I am.

It has taken time and practice to stop ruminating and the realization that it’s not selfish to be happy – it makes me a blessing to someone else.

– Barbara Bleiler is a certified funeral celebrant and ad rep for the Grand Forks Gazette.

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