Grief makes living on purpose extremely difficult. Did you know that grief is cumulative? Meaning if you experience grief and don't deal with it the next time you experience grief it adds water into that same grief bucket.
By the time we hit midlife many of us have experienced grief so many times that our grief bucket is overflowing. However, we often don't recognize it as grief. It comes out as anger, bitterness, anxiety, resentment, depression, moodiness and other expressions of emotional pain. When grief is recognized and processed in a healthy way it's amazing how much brain space is recovered. We can then use that extra brain space to move on and live with passion and purpose. I've always assumed that grief only happens when someone dies. Not true! Grief affects us on so many levels! We experience grief as children when we aren't noticed when we wish we had been or when we are bullied. We experience grief through heartbreak and unmet expectations in relationships. We experience grief when we lose a job we love or a pet we adored. We consistently experience grief in one form or another. In The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman they describe grief as "the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior." In other words something that has changed. I went through grief coaching with an amazing coach named Michelle Woodall http://www.heymichele.com . I was shocked at the things that I had never grieved.
For me one of the main things I focused on was my marriage. I was struggling with bitterness and anger and felt like things were never going to be better in my marriage. Through grief coaching I discovered that I needed to grieve the hopes and dreams that I had 25 years ago going into my marriage. I needed to identify the expectations that I had back then and grieve the fact that my marriage is different than the fairytale I wanted. Don't get me wrong I love my husband and we have a great marriage but it looks a lot different from what I had pictured it would be. For example, I love to read and an ideal night in for me would be us both cuddled up on the couch reading books together. My husband hates to read so that expectation is never going to be fulfilled! It may sound silly but I have to grieve the loss of that dream so that I can accept what is. After going through the grieving process I was shocked at the weight that was lifted off of me. Instead of looking at my husband with bitterness for all the things he isn't I was able to love him for all the wonderful things that he is. If you are struggling with anger or bitterness I would highly recommend you look into the things that you wish had been different in your life and start grieving. If you'd like more information about how I can help you walk through your grief you can visit me at www.pathwaycoaching.net and make sure to schedule a complimentary discovery session. I'd love to talk with you!