My Mum used to say that so much of life is about acceptance. Over the years my sense of what this really means has deepened. So much of the work we do in the counselling room is about loss and how we cope with it. Accepting that we cannot control some things and that they are as they are is a key stage in the process.
What kinds of losses am I talking about?
There is much of life that we cannot control although we may be able to influence it.
The Serenity Poem makes a clear distinction between things we can change and things we cannot. We need to differentiate between the two. Neither is easy but both pull something different from us.
Things that we cannot control may be losses in terms of actual bereavement. It could be the sudden recognition of the loss of the parent we never had. It could be the hopes and plans we had for ourselves didn’t work out.
Each of these losses needs its own grieving process, where we make sense of what that loss means to us. We can learn to cope with that loss and adjust to enable life to grow around us again.
A key part of this process is accepting what has happened – that it is so and we are where we are.
If you are stuck, it may because you are still struggling to accept something. This may mean letting go of another belief or expectation and you cannot move on until you do.
Is there a way around my feelings of loss?
The quote below illustrates acceptance (albeit reluctant) that there is only one way out of a difficult emotional situation. That way is through the emotions, which means you have to feel them.
None of us want to go through painful and complicated feelings but avoiding them means they stay with you for longer.
Feeling them, expressing them allows release. You begin to cope with your loss.
Have you ever successfully found a way around difficult emotional situations?
I often ask clients this question. Many have said they have found a way around difficult feelings. Then when we explore it further we discover that there they are, just under the surface. What they have actually done is avoided dealing with the emotions and pushed them down. The feelings are still there and they have not come to terms with things at all. And so they are stuck, still avoiding the pain.
#herontips – Tips to help with acceptance of loss
The process of acceptance is complex and may take time and work. One day you may find your mind suddenly is ready to let go of the belief it has been holding that things are different than they are. You learn to cope with your loss and you become unstuck.
There are no shortcuts or easy ways through this. The first step is accepting that you are stuck and things begin from there. Through is the only way to cope with loss. These tips are more about understanding the process and making sense of acceptance itself.
#heronjournal – Learning to cope with and accept your loss
Journalling – or writing about our feelings and what is happening to us is a really helpful tool. It is an especially helpful way to explore difficult feelings when coping with loss.
Understanding exactly what we are struggling with can help us to accept that is where we are.
Journalling enables us to explore our feelings, thoughts and beliefs. We can then begin to make sense of what is going on for us.
This journal takes its inspiration from the miracle question which helps us to look at how life would be different without the situation that is difficult. This can enable us to understand the essential elements of our struggle.
Go on – have a go, what have you got to lose?
Finally – A Question to Ponder about loss
If you had the chance to reset your life and start again- would you?
Would you go back to the start or to a particular point?
Would you do anything differently?
What effect do you think that would have on where you are now?
These questions can help to identify what you are responsible for in your life and what you are not. What you could have influenced and what you could not.
Talking through these things with someone who is not involved and accepts you exactly as you are can help. A counsellor will have no expectations that you should ‘be over this’ by now. They will give you the space you need to fully explore your feelings.
If you are in the Hertfordshire area and would like help with working with acceptance contact Jacqui by clicking <<Here>>
If your feelings become overwhelming and you feel you cannot cope – do talk to someone about how you are feeling.
Try calling one of the following numbers. <<CLICK HERE>>