Things Not to Say to People Who Are Grieving – #2

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2.      “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

A while back I did an all-day workshop on loss.  During one of the exercises people wrote on the board the stupid or hurtful things people have said to them.  This response elicited strong negative feelings from those in attendance.   While this may be your belief system and even the belief system that the griever adheres too, saying it to someone who is in the midst of suffering is not encouraged.  I think people often say this because they don’t know how else to comfort the person or they feel a need to make sense of the situation.  Please be considerate of the other person and keep that thought to yourself for the time being.  This is especially true when you don’t know the person’s belief system.

Even people with a very strong faith system question God when they are going through grief.  This is normal. The loss the griever is experiencing in the moment usually feels like much more than they can handle or ever imagined experiencing.  Statements like the above can make the person feel minimized, angry and they may want to distance themselves from you due to their mixed feelings towards God’s role in their loss.  This statement tells the person that God wants them to feel this pain or that God had a part in it.  The grieving person needs time to process their feelings towards God as they move through the stages of grief.

To the griever:  I have no idea why you are suffering the loss you are experiencing.  “Why?” is a normal question that is often asked.  No one has that answer.  The situation is overwhelming.  Feeling like it is too much to handle is normal and natural.  You are only human after all.  I hope you will seek out others who understand the difficult time you are having.  This is a time when you need the safe support of those who can help you through such a confusing and dark period.  Don’t try to handle these feelings all by yourself.  Please allow yourself to lean on safe and understanding people.

Things Not to Say to People Who are Grieving – #1

Deborah Day M.A. Blog

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1.         “I know how you feel.”

 When someone is going through a loss they are often consumed by feelings that are indescribable and overwhelming.  Even if you have experienced the same type of event, such as the death of a parent or the loss of a job, this doesn’t mean that your emotional reactions to the event will be the same.  While a miscarriage for one person may have little impact; for another it may spiral her into a significant period of grief.  And while you may “know how they feel” the one grieving needs to be heard first and foremost.  The grieving person needs your listening ear and comforting shoulder.   This is about them.  Keep the focus on them and off of you.  You can share some of the commonalities you have from your similar experiences at a later time when the grieving person’s feelings aren’t so raw.

To…

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Is It Time To Remodel Something In Your Life?

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We are currently in the beginning phases of doing our first major remodeling in our home. It happens to be our kitchen. It has been interesting to watch as they completely tore apart what was there and now there is an empty shell waiting to be rebuilt. And I was thinking of the parallel of this in each of our lives. Of the concept of remodeling; of tarring down what isn’t working and rebuilding; assessing what parts of our lives need to be completely tore apart and built anew; what parts possible need some resurfacing or some upgrades.

So I invite you to think of this concept of remodeling, rebuilding, making anew; and how this applies to you in your life. Are there areas in your life that you think need a complete overhaul? Or perhaps there are areas that you would just like to freshen up and make anew. This could have to do with your career and work life. It could be as extreme as wanting to start a whole new career. That may involve additional education or certifications. It could mean starting at a lower end position. This could be an area you want a complete overhaul.

Or possibly the area that needs attention is your relationships. It could be your love relationship that you think you may want to change some old patterns of relating that are not working and explore new ways of relating to your partner that would be more productive. It could be your parenting. Maybe it’s time to consider “Perhaps my ways of attempting to parent are out dated.” Possibly I ought to research some of the better ways to deal with my child or teenager. Maybe it is time to be open to new suggestion and avenues in dealing with your children or child.

A common area that people need some upgrades is with their physical health. This includes diet, exercise etc. Often one needs to do a very mindful assessment of your eating and exercise habits. Perhaps it’s time to start watching your cholesterol and change your food choices to help control this. Maybe you need to cut back on your sweets. Becoming more contentious overall about what you are putting in your mouth. Possibly it’s time to create a new ritual with exercise.

So as I watch our kitchen be torn apart and now looks like nothing attractive at all, with the anticipation of what will come, it brings to light the encouragement we each can use about what we need to remodel in our own lives. And I believe it would be wise if every six months you do an assessment of how you think you are doing in the core areas of your life. And that is the primary purpose of the book I have written, “Be Happy Now! Become The Active Director of Your Life.” It helps you to evaluate your emotional, mental, physical, financial and relational health. Every six months use this book as a tool to help you determine if you are being the active director of your life or if you need to make some proactive choices to claim that position.

The Power of Guilt in Your Life!

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And as promised, today I will be focusing on the concept of guilt. Guilt in its simplest form is when we feel bad about something you did or did not do. It is usually about a behavior; an action you did or did not do. Healthy guilt is very appropriate. It is appropriate to feel bad about certain behaviors, such as lying to a friend about why you can’t go out with them when you are really going out on a date. Or, spending family savings on buying clothes etc. and lying to your partner. A few more examples are feeling guilty that you forgot your parent’s birthday or feeling bad you didn’t go visit someone when they were in the hospital, to cheating on your partner. Healthy guilt can be a moral compass. Healthy guilt can guide you in living in a way that honors who you want to be. It can keep you on the path of respectful living.

So when you have guilt about a behavior or lack of a behavior that is clearly appropriate to feel (such as the above examples); behaviors that merit the feeling of guilt then I call that healthy guilt. When you have healthy guilty you have several options. You need to make amends with yourself and sometimes with another person. In my opinion, the way you make amends with yourself is you take ownership and in taking ownership that means you are truthful to yourself about what went on; acknowledge to yourself the choice you made, and even better is that you learn to have compassion and understanding on why you made that choice. So with healthy guilt you feel appropriately bad about the behavior and you have some compassion and understanding on how you made a certain choice and hence, then can forgive yourself.

And often when you have behaviors you feel guilty about and have then made amends with yourself sometimes you need to make amends with the other person. This just depends on the relationship you have with the other party involved. If this person is someone you are close to such as a close friend, family member, partner, child usually amends is advised. So if something has occurred with my significant other, that relationship merits an amends. If I have examined my behavior and know it was a poor choice to lie about spending money from our joint account without telling him/her then it is appropriate to share and apologize to that person.

If the behavior I feel guilt about occurred with someone I don’t know or have very little relationship with then a direct amends may not be necessary or feasible. For example, maybe one morning I was rushing and cut in line ahead of someone so that I could catch the next bus and I feel bad about this immature behavior. I can make amends with myself. I don’t have to track this person down and apologize.

Guilt is dangerous when it becomes unhealthy. Such as when you ruminate over and over again about something you feel bad about. Like when you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up for yourself. Feeling guilty that you declined going out with a friends because you are tired and really want to relax is an example of unhealthy guilt. It is perfectly within your rights to decline an invitation because you’re tired or don’t feel up to going. Sadly, there are many who would decline but then berate themselves with guilt.

The only solution I know to unhealthy guilt is to learn to be more self-nurturing. When you are unable to associate guilt with a behavior you are unhappy about and therefore you do not take responsibility for this behavior or lack of; then the guilt is unhealthy. Berating yourself is not a healthy way to cope. knowing that you have a right to forgive yourself and let go of any guilt you have over a behavior you did or wish you would have done is essential. Don’t let guilt pull you down and control you in a negative way. The only healthy way to deal with guilt is taking ownership, having self-compassion, making amends with yourself, and when appropriate making amends with another.

What Beliefs Are Controlling You?

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A belief is an idea that you are convinced about whether you are conscious of it or not. Our beliefs are at the core of our being. They are the driving force behind so much of who we are and how we behave. It is imperative that you identify the beliefs that are driving you to live as you are and be sure they are in alignment with your values.

Your beliefs may be positive or negative; however, many of your beliefs about yourself are held at the subconscious level. When your beliefs are influencing you subconsciously, you are not in control of them. Being that these beliefs have so much influence on your well-being, it makes sense that you would want to identify them so you can change the ones that are not helpful. This is done by bringing these subconscious beliefs to your conscious awareness.

There are many ways to do this. One way to become more aware of your beliefs is to ask yourself what you are telling yourself about a situation. Let’s say that you have a business interview tomorrow and you know you are nervous. You try and calm yourself. You can also ask yourself, “What am I telling myself about this interview.” You may find that when you explore this you hear things like, “I’m not good enough”, or “I don’t deserve good things to happen to me.” These are just some examples. The point is to search for the subconscious beliefs that may be interfering with you being your best self.

When you identify these negative beliefs it is important to correct them. Change the belief to what you want to believe. It is ok if you don’t believe it yet, but at least make the correction. The correction for “I’m not good enough,” might be “I have the skills needed for this job and am an excellent worker.” What a wonderful correction. Then begin to read those corrections so your mind begins to take them in. This can be a powerful beginning to changing your negative beliefs.

The Importance of Friendships

As I have been gradually digesting the tragedies that have occurred here in America this week, both in Boston and Texas it has caused me to reflect on what’s really important in my life. Along with my family, husband and children, I am also reminded of the importance of my friendships. I am reminded of the significance of having people in my life who really understand, know and appreciate me. The great necessity I have for friends that genuinely see me for who I am; my true authentic self. Not only do they see me, but they accept me.
I encourage you to think about the friendships in your life. Who are the ones you know that truly value you? Who are the ones that sincerely like you and your personality? Sometimes you marry into families that are very different from you. Sometimes you pick partners that are very different from you. Sometimes you may even feel different from your own original families.
I know for me that having girlfriends who I know really understand me is life-giving. I am energized by those around me who find my personality delightful, uplifting and encouraging. This week has made me more appreciative of the significance in surrounding myself with like-minded people. Each one of us is responsible to make sure that we have a network around us filled with those we know will be there for us no matter what life may bring our way.
So during this week I encourage you to reach out and thank those who have been there for you, or possibly rekindle some old friendships that maybe you have let linger. And gather around you once again those like-minded people that can help support you in your life’s journey.

The Power of The Mind

Be mindful of your thoughts today.  I encourage you to take a moment each morning and check in with your mind.  Check in with the thoughts that are traveling around inside your head.  Take notice.  Are these thoughts going to project you in a positive direction?  It is imperative that you be aware of your thoughts.  Your thoughts have great power and provide energy to your day, your week, your life.  Take a moment and be aware of whether these thoughts are in alignment with how you want your day to go.  I encourage you to alter any thoughts that do not serve your highest good.  If you do not take time to pay attention and change these thoughts, they will have the potential to unknowingly drag you down.  It is important not to minimize the power of your thoughts. I invite you to remember the truth.  The truth being that you are good.  That at heart you are good and have good intentions.  Allow yourself to think thoughts that honor this truth about you.   Allow yourself to have confidence in your ability.  Give yourself the encouragement and motivation you need.  Even one kind word to yourself can shift the energy within you and the energy that you send forth.  Be on your own side.