Loss is a universal experience. It creates an emotional storm that can sometimes leave us feeling shattered and lost. Yet, within this tumultuous process lies the potential for self-transformation and growth. By harnessing the power of self-leadership and fostering a deep connection with ourselves, we can rebuild our lives, carrying our grief forward as a testament to what reminds us we are alive in the first place.
The Rebuilding Process
The idea that everything burns to the ground and that we have to rebuild from what is left is pretty close to what it feels like we are doing after any loss. Consider losing your job and the rebuilding process that ensues after. Or perhaps you have lost someone you love, it often takes years to begin rebuilding.
Rebuilding oneself after a loss experience is a profound, tumultuous and challenging journey. We often have to drag ourselves kicking and screaming into change. It requires courage, patience, and a deep commitment to personal growth. There are times that we let the tide take us down the river, other times we are surfing the waves and sometimes we are swimming hard against the current. And we are tired. We are tired of change and tired of crying and we are angry that we have to do it at all.
Go slow. You are in no rush. This is important work that needs all of you.
Interestingly enough, self-leadership becomes a critical tool for navigating the turbulent swirl of emotions and change. Floating is just as important as swimming. It allows you to reconnect to the world differently. It is you creating awareness of how you want to interact with the world again. Perhaps there were parts of you that just accepted particular things before the loss but now you no longer see the need to. Perhaps there are things that you want to explore more and others you want to hold onto but less so.
"I was doing a job I hated because we had big retirement goals. When Ron died, those retirement dreams did too and I had to figure out what I wanted. I knew I didn't want to work in a huge accounting firm anymore but it felt like I was abandoning him in someway when in fact I was abandoning myself by staying."
Self-leadership is about being aligned with yourself rather than controlling what you are. It's about owning your story, trusting yourself and making decisions that align with your well-being and growth.
"Honestly, I was shocked when I was laid off. I couldn't believe that all my hard work went unnoticed and that this corporate culture of connection, honesty and integrity wasn't exactly true. I had tied my whole identity to the fact that I was working for a high-profile technology company and that I was good at it. I didn't know who I was without it. I started networking and everyone else was saying the same thing. It took some time to unravel but I walked out of that experience knowing what I valued most and where my worthiness lay and it wasn't in a revenue number."
Your Pathway to Aliveness
Contrary to popular advice, grief is not an enemy that you must defeat or circumvent. It is something that will be with you forever and therefore I want to cultivate a partnership with it. I want to use the energy it creates and cultivate a better understanding of what is important to me and focus that aliveness on doing that! By considering grief more of a partner in your journey forward and taking one step at a time to create an allyship with your emotions, you create a space where everything that matters to you can flourish.
Grief, in all of its swirling emotion, is a testament to your love, passion, and humanity. It's a part of you, and by carrying it forward, you honour your experiences and the lessons they've taught you. Your grief doesn't diminish your aliveness; rather, it adds depth and richness to your existence.
Reconnecting with Passion and Purpose
Even amidst grief, reconnecting with your passion and purpose is possible—and necessary. These are the sparks that reignite your spirit, bringing vibrancy back into your life.
Rediscovering your passion might mean returning to hobbies or interests that once brought you joy. Finding your purpose could involve redefining your goals or seeking ways to make an impact. This reconnection process is deeply personal and unique, and it's an essential step towards creating a vibrant, fulfilling life post-grief.
"I hadn't been on a date since I was 20 and the idea was terrifying. Liz was everything to me but I was so damn lonely. I hung out with friends when they would have me but going home alone broke my heart every time. It wasn't until I met Megan who was a widow as well, that I felt I could connect with someone who understood my grief and I understood hers. We went slow and while I still miss Lizzy, I cannot imagine my life today without Megan."
Grieving is not something that needs to be endured but is about loving ourselves and all the possibilities again. It's about carrying your grief and love forward, embracing it as a part of your journey, and incorporating it into your personal growth and transformation.
Check out The Trust Project to understand more about our annual program to support you through this journey.