self-love

Why Your Grief Should Be Given Its Due

Why Your Grief Should Be Given Its Due

We have all had lots of different types of relationships in our lives: parents, cousins, coworkers, and friends. From the time we are children until the end of our lives, we will form hundreds of different relationships with people. Many relationships will last throughout our lifetime; however, there will be the select few that don’t always last. Most of the time those that don’t last tend to be simple friendships. By moving away or simply growing up, people develop and change and drift apart. Nothing wrong there; that is just basic evolution. Sometimes you may have a relationship that, no matter how it developed or how it ended, still ended and that ending was not easy. You are left feeling as though you lost that person forever.

I learned recently about a type of grief called ambiguous grief, which mostly describes when a loved one is ill and you are about to lose them, but I also feel that this type of grief applies to the ending of a relationship. Whether it be a friendship or a romance, I believe you still go through this grief. You go from talking and spending all the time you can together to—nothing. You are left to deal with a hole in what was your normal life. You essentially have to go through the grieving process.

I don’t know how many of you have actually experienced this yourself; if you have, you most likely have felt this kind of grief about a family member before their passing. Personally, this is something I have gone through, and feel I am still currently going through. I often cry and get angry. I want nothing more than to “fix” the problem. Part of me, however, knows this will probably never be fixed. I have to come to the acceptance stage of my grief, and it’s hard.

As with regular grieving, we all need to find positivity so we can reach the acceptance to move on with our lives. The only thing different between normal grief and ambiguous grief is that the person you are grieving is still here. I constantly remind myself that as long as they are happy, then we don’t need each other in our lives. I believe that everyone comes into our lives for a reason, no matter how brief the impact, or how long they stay, and it is up to us to find the lesson from that relationship. But no matter how strong my beliefs, it still does not make not having them in my life any easier. It’s easier to change a habit when it’s only been a few days, weeks, or even months. When it has been years, things tend to get more complicated.

You see, I lost one of my best friends this way. I could tell this person everything and always felt safe around them. We shared something special in the ways we were similar and even the ways we were different. After years of friendship something changed, and I felt shut out. I have my theories as to what may have led to this, but without a proper conversation I’m left to my thoughts, and to deal with my grief in my own ways. I try not dwell on the past we had, and to focus on my future and the possibilities that lie ahead of me. Losing anyone is always hard, especially when you had such a strong relationship. I still find myself wanting to call or text when something funny happens that reminds me of them. Like with anything that was once a constant in your life, it’s going to take nothing but time to help you break out of that habit.

The best advice I can give to you is to not think that your life is any less because they are no longer there. Think instead how you have changed and how you’re better for having known that person. We can’t make everyone happy, and we can’t keep things the same forever. Change is inevitable, and moving on is part of that process.

Another thing that I find helpful is to write. I have written letters to the person I am grieving and haven’t sent them, but just getting the emotions out helps to move on. I remind myself that people will always come and go in our lives and will always leave an impact on us.

We are creatures who make connections, and we grieve the connection as much as the person. The way someone makes you feel and how you see yourself because of them is a powerful thing. When we lose that connection and/or that person, it is a shock to the system, more so on the emotional side. I guess we can’t really see or understand the impact a person can have on us until they are gone.

How we deal with the loss of the person will be different for everyone. I know that I need time, I need to work through everything, and most importantly I need to remind myself that I didn’t do anything wrong. Blaming yourself creates such an emotional strain that you may find yourself slipping into a depressive state, and no one deserves to be the cause of their own unhappiness.

Anyone who feels that they are grieving a friend, or an ex, or even a family member—please know you aren’t alone in these feelings. I know the heavy heart you carry, as I too carry it. I would be more than happy to talk through it with you if you wish to share your story with me.

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude
Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Hey, everyone!

It’s that season again; you may have already seen the ads on TV and radio. It’s engagement season! This might come as a shocker, but I loathe those ads. Yes, I am happily engaged at the moment, but that is not why I dislike these ads. To me, they put the focus on the wrong kind of love.

Back in the day, I was not always the happiest of people. I had just been dumped by my boyfriend, with whom I’d had a very serious relationship, and the only other person I cared about lived across the country. I wanted more than anything to be with the guy across the country; he was my best friend, and we talked all day, every day. He meant the world to me. But after a while, the distance became too much and he shut me out.

Around the same time, my parents began to put more and more pressure on me about what I should do with my future. With no plans to attend college and no summer plans, I began to doubt myself. I often felt that I could never live up to my parents’ standards. I also was trying to forget about the boy back home by trying to date. To little surprise to me, it just didn’t work. I constantly felt like the backup plan or the one who came in second.

Between not meeting my parents’ expectations and the constant rejections I received, my self-worth became basically non-existent. I truly believed I would never be good enough for anyone, not even on a miniscule level. These emotions and poisoning thoughts led to a much deeper part of my depression.  Granted, I feel it is important to say that I obviously worked through all of these issues and am much better now. However, I won’t lie—it took me until about two years ago to truly accept myself and to love myself.

I want to express the importance of really loving yourself, and to help you understand and feel that you’re not alone in feeling like it may take you a while. The best, most honest way I can advise on how to reach that level is by starting small. Keep a journal and remind yourself of one thing you do love about yourself, or even just like. Today we live in such a crazy world where everyone is constantly judged and being judged, and it is hard to find and reflect on the positive. Every time I found myself thinking or saying anything negative about myself I would try and be like; “But I guess I do like this.” It began there.

After years of doing this, I finally was able to start sticking up for myself and accepting that I am not perfect, but I am imperfectly perfect in my own way, as we all are. I often draw on the fact that I have survived the darkest of my days and sure, a day might seem bad and get me down, but not only have I been through worse, but tomorrow is another day. Every morning is a re-do for a bad day.

I finally arrived at my peak love for myself a few years ago while doing some personal reflection in the desert. I realized that if I’m not happy with a situation, I have the power to change it. Not only do I have that power—I deserve the change! It was a moment of epiphany for me. I was filled with such a wave of relief. I could suddenly see my future for the first time, and I was happy with whatever was in store. I truly knew that I deserved to be happy, and I actually felt that I loved myself.

Because of these new feelings, I was able to change so much in my life. Because I am able to encourage myself, I have more confidence. When I finally got through to this stage in my life, I felt like everything changed for the better. Loving yourself is often hard; we are our own worst critics. However, once you accept and learn to love yourself, your entire perspective on things changes for the better.  

I like to tell people to take a day and just do some reflection on yourself and your life—really take the time to think and process. Sometimes I feel like we don’t allow ourselves to do that, and that is a roadblock on the path to loving ourselves. As cliché as it may sound, it really is true that to love others, we must first love ourselves; personally, I used to hate that expression, but I can now see the truth in it. No one wants to be around someone who constantly turns down compliments, even the little ones, and who always has a negative outlook. They carry a sort of dark cloud around them and no one wants to be engulfed in that darkness. You may not notice your cloud because you’re so accustomed to it, but it affects the other person any relationship, and at times can make them doubt themselves. You can apologize and tell them, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but that still doesn’t eliminate the problem. Eventually the two people lose interest in pursuing the relationship. Or the one trying gives up because they simply grow tired of putting all the energy towards what they might call a lost cause. It’s a heartbreaking experience for each party involved and doesn’t help either person’s well-being.

All this is to say that no matter what the engagement ads tell us, loving yourself is the most important thing you can do. Take the time to practice self-love. The chain reaction that follows is a blessing we all deserve to experience!

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, Reflections, 0 comments