After a loss come sorrow, grief, anger and depression, even rage. My motto is ‘live your dreams without drama.’ Easier said than done sometimes.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes a full year or more before you can see your way clear to imagine a life without someone you once held so closely.
Slowly, your brain begins to reorganize itself into a new normal. Instead of losing one more day to regret, remorse or resentment, why not take these steps to design your best life out of the ashes of what life has handed you?
Step 1: Reclaim the Day
The first year after a loss is the hardest because you are bombarded by continuous reminders of the last time when things were different.
You weren’t alone at Christmas last year. You had someone who loved you at Valentine’s Day. Your birthday didn’t go unnoticed. You celebrated with grandchildren on 4th of July. That was then. What about now?
Now you make a plan to build a new memory over the old one. If you had nobody to please but yourself – what would you do with your life? Stop and listen to your inner wisdom.
You get to decide what you’ve always wished you could be, do or have. You get out to make that happen – hopefully on the exact day that reminds you of your loss.
Give yourself the Christmas gift you’ve always wanted. Take a cruise. Get a dog. Or a snake if that’s what your heart desires. Adopt a family. Be a Big Sister. Fill your life with things that bring you joy. One day at a time.
Step 2: Clear the Year
Each holiday you overwrite the loss by making it a special day for yourself will add up. Before you know it, another year will have passed and here’s the magic: next time you think of that birthday, you will pull up your most recent, joyful memory and the pain of what you once imagined life would look like will begin to fade into distant memory.
Each year you gift yourself and let go of past pain. It adds up to a life worth living and better than you could ever have imagined!
Step 3: Drop the Drama
Drama is a storyline. It may be the one others portray for us, or it may be the story we tell ourselves. A good drama has three players: a persecutor (the villain), a rescuer (the savior) and a victim (poor me).
Being a victim requires that you perfect your version of events into a believable tale that will cause someone to feel sorry enough for you to want to fight that battle for you. Without a rescuer, the story dies. Without a villain there can be no victim.
You may enlist a best friend, a relative, a co-worker, or someone in every social circle to assure you that you are not responsible for any of the pain swirling through your life.
Yet the pain persists because along with victimhood comes a sense of hopelessness, and human beings do better when they can feel some sense of control over their destiny.
Being a rescuer means you are constantly scanning the landscape for someone you can help. This is not nearly as kind or satisfying as it appears if your motives are selfish.
Helping others so you can feel good about yourself, even superior in some way, will not give you the release you seek. In fact, it will often backfire. Your help may not be appreciated in the way you think it should, and you can quickly shift to a persecutor role in the drama script.
As a persecutor, you imagine you know the right way to do things. You have the answers if only people would listen to you. You may pressure, manipulate and demand a response or outcome that causes others to become defensive or withdraw.
You often compare yourself to others as a way to bolster your ego and gain control. This role is often a defense against feeling like a victim. However, in the end, if you are playing in the Drama Triangle, that is exactly where you will find yourself.
Step 4: Embrace the Dream
What gifts, skills and abilities do you bring to the table of life? Is there a dream deferred that you always wished for but never allowed yourself to pursue? Perhaps you always wanted to scuba dive, or visit another country?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take yourself on a date, do something fun and enjoy your very own company?
What if you began to ask yourself ‘what If’ questions every day? What if I live to be 100? What if it’s not too late for me? What if I set my intention and move in the direction of my dreams?
The answers could take you somewhere you haven’t imagined yet but that is going to be so fulfilling you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
What is your heart’s desire – aside from wanting to turn back the clock to simpler, happier times? Who are you now? Please use the comments section to describe the person you see when you look in the mirror.