Most of us have lived long enough to experience the loss of a loved one. We have all experienced grief of many kinds and loss on many levels. Not only do we experience grief from the loss of a loved one but we can experience loss of a precious item, a relationship, a marriage, a home, a job or even an unfulfilled dream. Grief can also be a loss of self or sense of ones self as a valued employee or parent or partner. Unresolved grief is often unrecognized in a wide range of other difficulties such as a lack of motivation, depression, illness and mid-life crises. The loss of a dream can be in the past as in a childhood abuse longing for a happy home or an unmet expectation.
Grief is a learned behavior. When you look at various world cultures and see how their reactions to loss vary from abject misery and prolonged mourning to happiness, acceptance and celebration then it is clear the same event has been given different meaning. Your own experience reaction will depend not only on the country in which you grew up in but also your experience molded by parental influence and your developing religious and spiritual beliefs.
Different people respond to grief in different ways. Some move on rather resourcefully in dealing with loss in honoring the good and others get stuck by only recalling the negative ending or dissociating. It is important to know that resolving grief is not forgetting the loved one or putting them behind or saying good bye. It is actually the very opposite. Grief is a need to reconnect from what was lost. Resolving grief is about re-establishing connection.
Some make the mistake of recalling the ending of the relationship rather than the loving connection itself such as the last heated argument that led to breakup, or the ugly divorce process, the horrible terminal disease, the accident or whatever other unpleasant events resulted in the ending of a relationship, rather than the loving relationship itself. Many recall these events as if they are happening now, with the full intensity of unpleasantness of the original event. Do you think that the loved one would want you to remember the unpleasant ending or the the special loving feelings that they had with the lost person?
Others recall the loving relationship, but in a dissociative way that is distant, separate, absent, or unreal, leaving a feeling of emptiness and loss rather than the fulness experienced in the relationship. Resolved grief is a reconnection with all that was and is wholesome, good and resourceful about the relationship. This is an associated state with access in the here and now to nourishing past memories which give continued future sustenance.
While others may reach a place of resignation meaning the grief is controlled and they manage to not fall into uncontrollable weeping, it is still unresolved.
Those that have dealt with their losses in a much more positive and useful way often refer to the lost person as though they literally thought of them as if they were still present and this gave them access to all the good feelings that they had during the relationship. They think of the lost person just as they would a loved one who is physically absent for a short time and not with them.
Most of us are quite happy to be able to transform grief into reconnection with the lost experience. Some may have objections such as not wanting to say good bye. Saying good bye in order to stop grieving is backwards. What is necessary is to say hello again and reestablish the loving connection that you once had with that person or experience.
One might argue that having the lost person with me would interfere with my relating to other people in reality. I think that you would agree that a preoccupation with grieving for a lost person greatly interferes with relating with other people. The way you think of your loved one actually gives you a felt sense of connection that actually supports your connecting with others when it’s appropriate.
Another objection to resolving grief is that grieving is a way to honor the dead. It is important to honor the depth of your feelings. On the other hand, what better way to honor the person than to carry them joyfully with you in your heart for the rest of your days? Would you want your loved ones to grieve and be unhappy if you died? Or would you want them to remember you joyfully with full feelings of love and appreciation for your special qualities as they move on with their lives? Which way do you think the person you have lost would prefer?
Some may say that you are expected to be sad and that others such as family and friends would think that you didn’t care about him or her. You have the option of either explaining in detail what you are experiencing and offer them the same kind of choice that you are being offered or you can simply put on a sad face at appropriate times to fit into the idea of how you should be reacting.
By respecting these objections for their desired positive outcome, we can be confident in meeting them with greater understanding.
Other obstacles to resolving grief are trauma associated with the loss, anger, blame, resentment and guilt which need to be transformed prior to re-establishing connection.
Unresolved grief results in immense psychological and physical energy being bound up which can lead to heavy stagnancy and a sense of being stuck which prevents contemplation of the future, let alone action. Grief resolution can be thought of as freeing up, reconnecting and recycling these energies, allowing them to be channelled into worthwhile directions. This can be amazingly liberating. It does no one any good if they continue to carry around a debilitating burden.
Hypnosis and NLP (neural linguistic programming) can provide the support and guidance to work through unfelt emotions, overcome phobic memories, make peace with the loss or yourself and turn the loss into something resourceful to seed your future with.