Just the very idea of “moving forward” after loss can seem like a scary thing. What does it even mean to move on? And how do you begin to go about this?
I’d love to offer you a step-by-step approach. But if I’m being honest, there isn’t one. This is about you finding your own route forwards because your journey is unique.
There are however, some things I want you to know which will help:
1. Moving forward includes your grief. We don’t move away from grief, we move forwards with it. You will not be done grieving and I cannot promise you that you won’t feel any pain again. This is more about looking to the future with an acceptance that grief may be a part of that. Not necessarily in the same way either. Grief and loss is complex. There are many layers and it’s not a static thing – it shape shifts and changes over time. You become stronger as you carry it and it starts to feel like less of a weight. It takes up less space in your life but it doesn’t simply vanish. Grief can (and will) continue to remind you of loss throughout your life, in different ways and at different times. As you move forward with life, you will embrace everything about it and your loss becomes a part of who you are.
2. You get to decide what moving forward looks like. I understand that friends and family have all kinds of “advice” and ideas of what you should and shouldn’t be doing during this time. They will offer this from their own experiences and perspective. However, this is about your own personal journey and your perspective. Nobody can define what moving forward looks like for you. There are no timelines, no rules and certainly no “best ways” to approach this. You know when you’re ready to move forward after your loss. You get to decide what it means to move forward.
3. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. Sometimes we struggle to come to terms with the idea of moving forward because we associate it with forgetting loved ones. This isn’t the case. It’s about accepting your loss and finding your “new normal”, even though you miss and long for what you’ve lost. It’s about honouring your loved one / loss, whilst finding something beautiful in your life beyond loss. I believe that grief and love are two sides of the same coin. In other words, they have to coexist.
4. The strength comes from knowing what you need. How many times has somebody said to you “stay strong?” You don’t need to hold it all together in order to heal and move forward. In fact, avoiding grief or not feeling your emotions is anything but healing. You need to understand the aspects of your grief you struggle with, then ask for help and support with those areas. As you work through the bits you need help with, you will start to feel stronger and by default, you’re already moving forward.
There are also many practical things you can do along the way and I love to offer tools that can help you along this grief journey.
Here’s a little freebie for you…
On Monday 24 February 2020, I took part in an online summit called ‘What’s Stopping You?’
My talk was centred around the very subject of ‘what’s stopping you from moving on after loss?’
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