What happened? What are the FACTS that make up the story of what happened to your deceased love one? The facts are the part of the story that DOESN’T CHANGE. This doesn’t include your feelings or your response to the story, simply only the facts.
Here are the facts in my story of loss. My father died from cancer. My late husband died from cancer. What are the plain facts that make up your story of loss?
Now, feel free to tell your own version of the stories regarding your loss. Here is the story I used to tell myself after my dad died:
Having an abusive mom, my dad was the only one that I felt loved me a little bit while I was growing up. We were never that close. My dad never told me that he loved me, never hugged me, never really spent time with me but at least he didn’t abuse me. He was my last resort so when I lost him, I felt like I didn’t have anyone to depend on anymore. Many of my life struggles came from losing my dad when I was young. I didn’t get the love and support everybody deserves to get as a kid and therefore I was incomplete and not emotionally healthy. Losing my dad doomed me to be a victim of life and meant my life was supposed to be a struggle! How can a kid that never received love from their parents be happy and successful in life? There is no way that they can be!!
What did you notice about this story? How do you feel after reading it? I know every one of you will have a very different reaction to this story and some of you may even feel some unpleasant emotions being triggered. No matter what your reaction was to my story, we can all agree that this story is full of suffering, right?
Often our suffering comes from the stories we tell ourselves about our loss, not from the actual facts that are part of our loss.
If this is the case, why do we choose to tell ourselves a certain version of our story of loss? Why would we choose to get stuck in our own suffering? This takes place because we all have our own set of blueprints when it comes to life. We all have our own ways to interpret who we are, what we do, how to be worthy and what happiness looks like for us. Reading my story above, you probably noticed a few things about my old life blueprint and myself. What did I need and want? I wanted to be loved. What does being loved look like for me? It looked like this: loving parents and a warm home to go back to anytime I needed a place to feel safe and needed to recover from life. Did I get what I believed to be love? NO!
When our blueprint and our reality doesn’t match, this is where our suffering starts. In this equation, we have two things we can do to end our suffering. One, we can change our reality. Two, we can change our blueprint about ourselves and our life.
When we are grieving, we have absolutely no control over changing the reality of losing our loved one. So, the only thing we can do is to change our blueprint.
So here is my new story about losing my dad:
My dad didn’t abandon me when he died. Losing my dad was not a punishment from God or from life. His death had nothing to do with me being lovable or good enough and it wasn’t personal. Everyone dies. Loss is a part of being human. What being loved looks like for me now is my realization that love comes in many different shapes and forms. I didn’t get the love I wanted from my parents but they DID love me in their own way with the knowledge they had at the time. So I was loved by them but just not in the ways I preferred to be loved. I did however receive a lot of love from my friends, even strangers, and now, more love from God. So overall, I am loved very much by many people.
Did you see? The core human needs of being loved has never changed in me, but how being loved looks like as a blueprint has changed. I went from begging for love from my parents (my mom is not capable of giving the love I want and my dad has passed away), to accepting love comes in many unique ways (friends, new family and God).
What are the stories about your loss that you keep telling yourself? What are your core needs and what is your blueprint? Share with us what you are willing to change about your blueprint in order to suffer less and heal faster from grief!
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Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional!