- Understanding Grief
- People Grieve Differently
- The Brain Fog of Grief
- The Vocabulary of Grief
- Grievers Don’t Need to be Fixed
- Misconceptions About Grief
- There Are No Orderly and Predictable Stages In Grief
- When Caring People Say Dumb Things When You’re Grieving
- What to Say to Others When You’re Grieving
- The Impact of Who you Lost and How you Lost Them
- Heavy Grief Days
- The Grief Letter
- Ways to Remember Them
- Permissions for Grievers
- Creating Bright Spots in the Midst of Grief
- Why Are Many Grievers Not Comfortable Crying In Front of Others?
- Why Grievers Don’t Need to Be Strong
- Do I Just Need Time to Heal From Grief?
- Why Do Grieving People Get the Message They Shouldn’t Be Sad?
- Is Staying Busy Good for Grief?
- The Isolation of Grief
- Can You Fill the Void Left by the Death of Loved One?
- How Long Does the Pain of Grief Last?
- How Do You Get Over Grief?
- I Don’t Want to Forget My Loved One Who Died
- Relationships Change After Loss
- Why Don’t Friends and Family Understand Your Grief?
- How to Tell Others What You Need in Your Grief
- Grief Can Cause You to Re-evaluate Relationships
- I Lost My Spouse and My Friends
- All the Phases in the Grief Journey
- I’m Grieving and Just Barely Surviving
- Why Do I Feel Like I Am Just Existing in My Grief?
- When Will I Be Ready for Grief Counseling?
- Can You Heal Your Grief?
- Living Again After Losing a Loved One
- How Grief Affects Mental Health
- Grief & Depression
- How Trauma Affects Your Grief
- Co-Dependency and Grief
- Should I take medication for my grief?
- The Uniqueness of Grieving A Suicide
- Suicide Shock: I Can’t Believe They Did It
- Feeling Blame and Shame After a Suicide
- The Abandonment of Suicide
- The Stigma of Suicide
- Interview with widow who lost two husbands by suicide
- Losing Your Husband to Suicide
- What To Do With Your Loved One’s Belongings After They Die
- No Cost Financial Coaching & Planning for Widows: Chris Bentley
- Hope When Shattered By Grief
- Answers to Your Questions About Grief
- Is Being Angry at God a Sin After My Loved One Died?
- Where Did My Peace, Joy and Gratitude Go after I lost my loved one?
- Can Grief and Hope Co-Exist?
- Why Does God Heal Some People But Not Others?
- Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin?
- Why Do I Dislike Platitudes and Bible Verses?
- Why Did God Let My Loved One Die?
- Surviving The Holidays
The Grief Journey
Foundations Of Grief
Misconceptions About Grief
Relationships After Loss
The Grief Journey
Grief & Mental Health
Grieving A Suicide
Conversations On Grief
Questions Grieving Christians Ask
Coping With The Holidays and Other Tough Special Days
The Grief Journey
Episode 4 : When Will I Be Ready for Grief Counseling?
The Grief Journey: Seeking
You won’t accidentally heal from your loss. You must seek healing when the time is right. You will slide back and forth between phases on your journey, but when you are actively seeking, you are entering that critical transitional time. You want to feel better – feel like you are actually living again, but you need to find a way to get there.
We have covered the surviving and existing phases. If you have not yet viewed these episodes, please hit your browser’s back button, start with the introduction video and follow the episodes in the order they are presented in the series overview. Having the content in order is essential.
Let’s look at the transitional stage of seeking. But first, I’m going to recap those first two phases briefly:
In the surviving phase, you may be in a state of shock and dismay, such that you are not likely experiencing reality as you previously experienced it. Surviving, in this case, means just hanging on the best you can.
In time, most people will gradually transition from the surviving phase to an existing phase without intentional efforts to move forward. Typically, we cycle back and forth between the phases. No one’s grief journey is a straight line – not even close.
And, as Anne-Marie described earlier, while in the existing phase, you will eventually sense that your life has become stagnant, and you may also realize that your identity – the way you see yourself – has become that of a grieving person, rather than a living person who has the right to live forward.
While you may have moved from the surviving phase into the existing phase without any particular plan or intentions, you probably will not move into the seeking phase without awareness and intention. In fact, in my experience, many people get stuck in the existing phase of their journey. They sometimes become comfortable in their unsatisfying new normal and don’t imagine ever having a more satisfying and enjoyable life again.
Can you relate to feeling that your life is on hold, and this mere “existence” is your fate? If so, we want to share two important truths:
First, time does not heal anything. Rather, healing will take time, and allowing yourself the time needed to heal is a key component of your healing journey.
Second, you can heal with time, personal effort, and competent guidance. Refuse to accept messages that you cannot heal through grief. Understand that you have to actively seek healing.
Ultimately, healing is an act of the will. You won’t accidentally heal from your loss.
And that is why we call the next phase the seeking phase. You must seek healing. When you actively seek a way to heal from your loss, you are in the seeking phase.
We have seen people plateau in the existing phase for years, and even decades. These people are not satisfied with their lives. They know that they are on a plateau and they, unfortunately, choose to stay right there.
Why? Well, there are various reasons for plateauing in your grief journey. Here are a few of the more common reasons for living a stagnant life:
- Believing that nothing will ever get better after a devastating loss. They are unaware of the potential of active healing and may be depending upon the passage of time.
- Believing that seeking a satisfying, significant and enjoyable life dishonors the loved one they have lost. This type of thinking is often borne from feelings of guilt or remorse.
- Trying to move forward, but experiencing the pain dredged up in the process set them back, and they have shied away from the idea of healing since because it hurts too much.
- Finding a sort of stability by primarily identifying as a grieving person. This may be a conscious or unconscious choice.
But again, over time, many people will tire of the plateau they are on. They begin to think that there must be something better – that their life is stalled out and unfulfilling – and that they don’t want to be this way anymore. And there begins their seeking phase.
Maybe you are seeking a healing path right now. You may be looking for someone or something to guide you from a life on hold to a sense of really living again – a life that includes hope for, and a promise, of something better and more.
If you have that desire, then you are in a good place. We designed our program to help you build a foundation of understanding grief and loss through education. We want you to be well-grounded in what grief is and isn’t before starting an intentional journey toward healing. We also hope to normalize your experience and shine a light on the path leading back to really living again.
And, as you complete a full review of our video episodes, you will gain a solid understanding of the grieving experience. At that point, we can provide you instruction and guidance toward a healing path as we virtually walk alongside you, providing other helpful information.
I must offer you this caution, however. If you are watching this now and your loss is fresh and raw, you are not likely ready to move toward intentional healing. You will need to spend some time in the surviving and existing modes. Every griever needs the grounding that comes from just living it. Don’t rush it.
How do you know when the time is right to seek healing? My basic test is asking you this question: Are you mainly focused on escaping the pain? If so, you might not yet be ready to heal. Because experiencing the pain, consciously and authentically, is part of the healing process.
Healing from loss is not a foot race. It is not merely a process for hurting less. Instead, it is a journey of milestones that require learning along the way. It isn’t about speed or getting “over” your grief. You must journey through your grief, and no two journeys are alike.
This is a lot to think about. Let’s summarize:
- A grief journey has several phases that every griever must experience if they are to heal and it can lead them, eventually, to actively living again.
- The phases we describe are not stair steps, and you will find yourself transitioning in and out of the phases.
- Moving to the seeking phase in pursuit of healing and living again is an intentional decision requiring commitment and not just an attempt at escaping pain.
- The seeking phase means that you want to find a path toward healing, and commit to staying on that path, so you can, ultimately, move through your grief toward intentional living again.
I encourage you to take some time today to consider where you think you are in the grief journey. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you still in a place of just getting through your days?
- Do you have a sense of being stuck and dissatisfied with life?
- Do you believe that healing is possible?
- Are you dissatisfied enough with your current life that facing the pain seems better than staying where you are?
- Have you spent time recently wondering if there is more ahead for you, and what that might look like?
There are two ways to look at having the power to influence your life: Decisions are made as a result of your personal choices versus believing that decisions are made outside of your control. Adopting the former means taking responsibility to choose how to navigate what comes your way. Adopting the latter means letting go of the rudder and leaving life to fate. You get the choice of which philosophy to adopt.