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  • Jenni Schierman

HEALTHY STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH LOSS



I want to tell you a secret…you are going to lose many things over the course of your life that you care about, but you get to choose how you respond to those losses.

That might not be as big of a secret that you were hoping for, but it is an honest one.

As many of you may know, I recently lost my Dad rather unexpectedly about two months ago. I also lost my Mom just shy of two years ago. When you say “loss” most people immediately think of death, which is why I started with those two examples.

For those of us in the coaching and mental health professions, “loss” can also mean many other things.

It can mean the loss of a job or even your ability to produce income perhaps due to an injury. It could mean an illness that changed your life drastically.

Maybe you had a significant break up, separated, or divorced from a partner.

You might have found yourself in a different financial situation than before and are trying to navigate this and the feelings it brings. Potential unexpected debt, financial losses, and extra stress as a result.


Maybe you lost a sponsorship opportunity, a contract for next season, etc.

These are some additional examples of other types of losses.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THINGS GO SIDEWAYS?

First, I want to tell you that I have personally experienced several of the things listed above and probably didn’t handle most of them in the best way. I did what I knew how to do, and I guess it got me through it at the time.

What I want to talk to you about today is a more efficient and less painful way for you to get through some of your “stuff” whatever that might be.

If you decide it isn’t for you, no offense taken.

My reason for writing this is largely because I went through several painful losses one way, and then several the way I will explain to you. It’s better the second way.

HOW I USED TO DO THINGS

To give you some context on how things have changed it might be helpful for you to understand how I used to deal with situations like the ones I described above.

Some of this might sound similar to the way you handle things.

If something “bad” or “painful” happened to me I mostly did my best to avoid dealing with it. I had experienced quite a lot of loss (death, relationships, financial, etc) from an early age so by the time I was in my mid 20’s to early 30’s I was efficient at bottling my feelings and pretending that the “bad stuff” just wasn’t there.

I was uncomfortable with grief and emotion. I never let anyone see me cry. Not even anyone close to me. This caused issues in romantic relationships because they often thought I just didn’t care.

This worked great until it didn’t anymore.

I had never really learned how to effectively process loss, grief, or anger.

Sounding familiar to some of you?

I decided to get help and found a therapist. This along with the extensive work I’ve done with coaches over the last almost 14 months has made a complete transformation for me.

A MORE EFFECTIVE STRATEGY

There are a lot of cultures that process loss and grief in a really healthy way and some that maybe don’t do as great of a job.

What you learn as a child will largely influence how you believe you should act when you lose something you value.

Let’s look at a few ways that you can help yourself process:

1. Feel the Loss – Whether it is a person, a job, or the ability to run 10 miles that you have lost, in order to help yourself eventually move on, you first need to allow yourself to fully feel that loss.

This is the part that most people want to avoid. It’s painful, it lasts, it is uncomfortable. I understand that. It is also necessary in order for you to be able to get to the other parts. This is the biggest part and it’s also why it is listed first.

2. Share the Grief – The founder of my graduate program shared a quote that is something like “Grief shared is halved”. It will make it much easier on you if you let other people share this with you. Be sure to let them know what your boundaries are and what you need during this time but let them do some of the heavy lifting.

3. Seek Help When Needed – I didn’t realize right away that I needed help. If you lost a loved one or a job that was significant to you years ago and you are still having issues because of it, it might be time to seek out some professional help. A good counselor or therapist is trained to get you past some of those unprocessed areas that have you stuck. Don’t wait another five or ten years.


NEXT STEPS

These are just a few steps that have been helpful for me in learning new healthier ways to process loss and grief. It didn’t happen overnight, and I’ve still got room for improvement. I do know a ton about what works and what doesn’t. I would be happy to help.

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