Reconnecting with Joy
Most people can reconnect with their best memories, and experience gratitude and joy again – this is what most people want…so when they think of their loved one, they automatically feel joy at the lovely times they shared, and gratitude that those things happened.
How is this possible?
A Clue – some people grieve the loss of something they never had. For example, they may want to have children and discover they are infertile; or strive to build a large successful business, but time runs out and they realize the dream will not come true. The person’s idea that something is no longer possible, (or never was), can be a source of sadness. Essentially, we hold a story in our mind (eg that everyone should be able to bear children), and when reality does not match that story we can feel great pain. Since pain comes not from reality, but our story and our thoughts, a new story and new thoughts is a path to feeling happy again.
Another Clue – almost everyone will be aware that when they imagine something, they make pictures with their mind. Most people don’t think about details like WHERE they imagine the particular picture, its SIZE, and BRIGHTNESS etc, and don’t realize this makes a fundamental difference to the emotion of that thought. Is the picture in front, out to one side, behind, up or down? Each person will have their own ‘code’ for how they make their thoughts sad, or distressing, or peaceful, or joyful. For example, many people will feel sad when they make a picture of the deceased person, small, dim, at a distance, perhaps fuzzy – the person feels out of reach. When one knows the person’s particular code, one can guide the person to make changes that impact immediately.
From studying the people who naturally grieved quickly and easily, a process was developed which allows most people to reconnect with their joyful memories and feel grateful for the times they had together. [This was developed by Steve & Connirae Andreas in America; they are therapists and trainers in NLP, or NeuroLinguistic Programing.]
Turning things around
Too many people struggle emotionally after the death of someone. It may go on for months or years, not sleeping well, having painful thoughts about the death, and worse still if there was some traumatic scene at the end (eg a bad accident, or deterioration from cancer.) Sometimes it is hard when the person’s name is mentioned, and people close learn not to raise the subject. Special places or activities may be avoided as they trigger painful memories.
Instead, you can learn how to return to feeling grateful and joyful about the person, just as you feel about friends who are not in the room with you now. And any unpleasant imagery involving the death can also be altered in your mind, and remain that way.
There may be occasional tears, (or maybe not.) Typically people can resume talking about the person, sharing their memories, and be comfortable when they are mentioned.
Re-engaging in life
It is important that people re-engage in life, creating the next chapter, different than the last, but also good. It’s not really enough, to have happy memories and feel content, and do nothing in life thereafter. Life is about living, loving and enjoying. So when grief is truly resolved, you can expect to be living a normal life again…different of course.
- Traumatic images – sometimes such memories intrude into people’s thinking, sapping energy and causing distress. These can be changed so the best times are foremost in your thinking.
- Beliefs – some people, and some cultures, imply that loved ones must grieve in a certain way, or for a certain time. It may be important to examine these ideas, to allow more flexibility to re-engage in life fully, while respecting the values of those close to you.
- Children need to have their parents recover from a severe loss, so the children feel safe, that they feel they are ‘enough’ for their parent to feel happy, and so the children do not have to take care of the parent(s).
What used to happen through good fortune, or slowly or painfully, perhaps over one or two years is now understood – this is why a person can be directed specifically how to do it, in a shorter space of time.
Whether a loss is fresh, or a person has been stuck in grief for a long time, it can be changed.