Grieving is a process God gives us to help us heal when something or someone we value is lost.”
I truly believe that. Without appropriate grieving we would be stuck in loss. Working through grief moves us forward.
Identifying grief and addressing it is critical; otherwise, grief may drag out for years. Once you realize that what you are feeling is grief, it can be easier to begin the path toward healing. Actively working through your grief is like giving a gift to yourself since doing so will help you to heal.
Working through Grief
Make a deliberate decision to deal with your divorce grief. Grief does not go away on its own. It is important to work through the emotions associated with the losses related to divorce. Doing so takes persistence.
Be patient with yourself. Adding more stress to your life by trying to fit your grief into a certain time frame serves no purpose. Working through the grief of divorce is a gradual process with no specific finish line that applies to everyone. You will know when your grief is completed.
Don’t expect a formula. Not everyone experiences grief in exactly the same way, so don’t think you have to force your grief into identified patterns. Allow yourself to grieve in your own way at your own speed.
Find supportive friends. People who will listen without judgment are a great asset. Build a network of these people.
Face the feelings of grief head on. Telling yourself and others that you are fine when you are not does not make the hurt inside go away. Talking and thinking excessively about the events that contributed to your grief, without actually dealing with the emotions of your grief, does not really help you heal either. Unresolved issues left lurking under the surface keep you from having peace and may haunt future relationships.
Allow time in an appropriate place to gush out your emotions daily. Declare your emotions aloud. Find a private place and shout. Pound a punching bag, or run if that helps. Find a way, time, and place where you can vent and express your grief in an appropriate way that is respectful of others.
Honestly facing your feelings and then working through them can take away the power of those feelings so that you may move forward free of their grip.
Three questions to help you deal with the grief feelings of divorce:
- Exactly what emotion am I feeling right now?
- What triggered that emotion?
- How can I express that emotion appropriately?
SITUATION: You’re shopping and suddenly the young store clerk that is helping you resembles the person your spouse ran away with a year ago. You suddenly feel sick.
WHAT EMOTION would you feel?
THE TRIGGER FOR YOUR EMOTION: The unsuspecting store clerk because that person reminds you that your ex left you for a younger person.
EXPRESS THE EMOTION APPROPRIATELY: How would you appropriately express that emotion? Go to a private place and cry? Text a friend and vent? Tell God you’re tired of all of this and ask for help? Later in the day could you write a letter to yourself declaring your worth?
Labeling your emotions, understanding where they come from and expressing them appropriately will help you to process your grief. What emotions are you feeling right now?
Much of this post is an excerpt from Renee Smith Ettline’s book, Peace after Divorce.
Learn More about Peace after Divorce Workshops now. You can take a self-study in your own home, join a group in a church, or offer a group in your church.
“I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’ You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.” Lamentations 3:55-58 NIV