I wish I had better news about what happens to our mind after loss.
I wish I could say that when grief destroys everything the brain rejuvenates automatically.
But the destruction grief causes our brain doesn’t go away on its own.
Our brain does not bounce back and evolve without our help.
My brain was a battlefield for many years after loss.
It was scared, depressed and above all stuck in an infinite loop of appalling thoughts about myself and my life.
And I got used to living there.
In the battlefield.
I don’t understand how nobody told me these words after loss,
You have to work on your mind.
Then I could have asked.
What do you mean by that?
They would have said,
You need to become conscious of the thoughts you think every day. They are not yours…they are grief’s thoughts.
And I could have become aware of these grenades that were firing inside my brain every day instead of just accepting them as mine.
They weren’t mine. They were grief’s.
But as time went by I made them mine.
And I became grief-like.
I lost my life like self.
I am going to keep this short and to the point.
Every morning when you wake up check in with yourself and ask this question:
What am I thinking right now?
Write it down.
Is this thought mine or grief’s?
Answer that question and if it’s not yours replace it immediately with yours.
Here is an example.
Here is a thought first thing in the morning.
I don’t want to get up. My life sucks and I miss him too much to function.
Which part of this is grief speaking and which part of this is you?
It might not be easy to tell at first because grief has been forcing these thoughts on you for a while.
Here is how you can tell.
Take the thought apart.
Did you love waking up in the morning before loss?
If the answer is yes, then deep down you do want to wake up.
And the thought that you don’t want to get up is not coming from you but from grief.
Now to the remaining thought.
My life sucks.
I know it feels like your life completely sucks right now, and this may feel true and it might be true.
If this was my thought I would keep this part as my own. No denying that. Life does suck after loss, sorry.
Next, we move into the last part of this thought,
I miss him too much to function.
I know you miss him, but is it true that you can’t function?
I think this is grief speaking to us telling us not to bother to go out and do life.
Let’s change this whole thought now to make it our own.
“I used to love mornings, but it’s been hard lately. I miss him so much, but I want to try to at least function today.”
Do you see how we shifted this thought?
If we did this with just a couple of thoughts a day that’s all it’s going to take to not be stuck in the waiting room of grief.
Don’t let grief think for you, not even for one day, not even for one thought. @SecondFirsts (Click to Tweet!)
Grief is sneaky. Very sneaky. But life is sneakier and more alive than grief could ever be.
Here’s to your own thoughts today and every day after loss.
With thriving thoughts,
Christina Rasmussen is a bestselling author, speaker and philanthropist on a crusade to change the way we live after loss. As the founder of Second Firsts and Life Starters both organizations to help people create a pathway back to life after loss, Christina has helped thousands of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of the human mind. Her book Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, aims to take her message even further. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.
Image courtesy of frank mckenna.