Coping With Grief During The Holiday Season: Give Yourself A Holiday Gift

Sometimes loss is so devastating it sends you into a seemingly never-ending downward spiral. Do you often find yourself descending into darkness rather than looking for the positive ray of sunshine present in every situation?

Try to remember that every event in life is neutral. It is neither good nor bad; positive nor negative; happy nor sad. It is you, and your response, which gives meaning to the event.

I do not mean to mitigate the death of a spouse, or any loss for that matter. However, you can look at the ‘event’ as the most horrible thing that happened to you, or it can be seen as a closing of one door and the unlimited possibility of new doors to open and explore.

Grieving is a very necessary process, and there is no time limit on how long it should take you to recover. It is a personal decision; however, please know in your heart, it should not go on indefinitely. At some point in time, you have to start looking forward rather than backwards.

This also does not happen in one fell swoop. It is gradual and moves in baby steps. One day you will turn around and realize how far you have really come.

In my own instance, it took me five years to truly believe I had reached solid ground. These five years were not spent idly waiting for my grief to end. Moreover, this is not to say that I grieved the same each day over this time period. I kept moving forward, pro-actively working on the issues that bothered me.

Many times, I thought I had resolved my grief, only to find another issue lurking around the corner just waiting to push me back. Again, perception comes into play. One can look at problems as insurmountable and something to fear, or one can say -- “Oh goody, another problem to solve!” Just think of the power with which we can infuse ourselves when we figure out what went wrong and then are able to figure out how to fix it.

We are all beings of energy. We have the power to surge forward in our lives and fill it with happiness, love, and success. Keep in mind, though, if we emit negative energy, negativity will find us. If we emit a fear of living and trusting again -- guess what? -- you will attract fearful and mistrustful situations. If you are always angry, you will attract angry people to you. If you feel sorry for yourself, then others will too. If you think there will never be another person with whom you will connect, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Give yourself a gift this holiday season. Take time off from being sad and lonely; mad at the world; apprehensive about the future; and any other negative thought you may have. Wear a smile on your face and project positive energy, and you may be surprised at what life has in store for you!


Ellen Gerst, a Life Coach who specializes in grief and relationships, is the author of A Practical Guide to Widow/erhood. Born out of Ellen’s own experiences as a young widow, A Practical Guide provides suggestions to help a griever re-adjust each aspect of his/her life without his/her loved one. Her newest book, 101 Tips and Thoughts on Coping with Grief, is an easy-to-read reference guide for everyday suggestions for moving forward on the grief journey. Ellen has also written Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story,
a step-by-step guide on how to redesign your life to include a new love
connection after the loss of a mate due to death or divorce.

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