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How to Move through Grief during the Holidays?

It’s the holiday season and you feel an obligation to act happy for others. You have conflicting emotions this time of year.

You may not identify these conflicting emotions as grief, but often that is what you are experiencing.

Let’s start with a definition.

Since there isn’t one simple definition that captures the essence of grief, it's helpful to look through various lenses.

First, grief is the heart and body’s natural response to loss and involves conflicting emotions. For instance, you enjoy Christmas, but you are sad that two of your kids will be celebrating with their partner’s families. This is a loss. You are happy to be with those you love and heartbroken that your mom will not be at the holiday gathering since she passed away.

You’ve been taught to think in either/or, rather than both/and, so the feelings that seem to contradict each other confuse you. Often you feel guilty like there is something wrong with you and do not recognize that you are having grief.

Grief generally occurs when one’s normal or expected experience is disrupted. Even the change in holiday traditions can bring up grief.

This brings up the fact that grief is cumulative, which means that unmetabolized grief does not go away. Think about it like a train. When it comes to a sudden stop, whatever the train has been carrying is thrust to the front. So when your grief is activated by a change in routine, unmet expectation, or other loss, past pain is often compounding what you are going through.

Grief even happens when what the soul requires is denied or withheld. You are profoundly important and deserve to be loved, nurtured and supported. When you don’t receive what your soul needs, there is immense loss. This loss can be stirred by a present situation.

A larger canopy for understanding grief is important because you, your life experiences, your needs, wants, and unmet hopes and expectations matter.

The first thing to know is that there is nothing wrong with you. You are having a normal response to your loss.

You’ve been taught to not feel bad, yet feeling bad is just part of the journey. Life is 50/50 and of course you can not and will not be happy all the time. You have permission to feel happy and sad at the same time.

You are grieving, and identifying that opens you to self compassion. When you think you are the problem, you judge yourself, which intensifies your grief. It is crucial that you are gentle with yourself -- especially now.

You’ve experienced much loss over your lifetime. Feeling bad is normal and allowed. You are likely experiencing historical grief on top of what you are going through. This simple recognition can help you release self-judgment.

Give yourself permission to have the full range of human emotions. You are human after all. Laugh when you feel like laughing. Notice the beauty around you. Feel your feelings. Honor your grief and in this way you honor your one precious life.

A note to those experiencing the recent loss of a loved one: Allowing the fullness of your humanity not only validates you, it also esteems the one who has died. You are not forgetting them, you are continuing to live and thereby honoring that they too lived.

-- Lisa Michelle Zega~Moxie Partner

Book a Discovery Call Facebook Instagram Linkedin "You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness" - Brené Brown

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