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Unresolved or unhealed grief is something so many of us are holding onto because it remains a taboo, and a difficult subject to address. It’s painful, inconvenient, messy and it hurts. One of the UK’s leading Grief Coaches Dipti Solanki (www.diptisolanki.com) has this exclusive feature for Female First on the effects of holding on to grief and not dealing with it.
The fallout of not attending to our grief can be felt far and wide, in our physical and mental health, our personal lives, careers and relationships. It’s so important for us to be able to have more open and honest conversations about grief, get comfortable with the discomfort this brings and really understand the incredible personal growth that can follow when we do start to work through it.
It’s important to understand that grief and loss can arise from many life events, not only that of losing someone close to us. Divorce, bereavement, estrangement from loved ones, sudden changes in health, financial losses, career losses, fertility issues, loss of a pet, betrayals and so much more. It’s also a well-recognised phenomenon that positive life events can either have elements of loss or even re-open old wounds. The key here is change – and anything that changes in our life has the capacity to give rise to feelings of loss and the emotions of grief.
As a society, we are well versed in how to celebrate life events like births, marriages, birthdays, promotions etc. But we lack the information and community support structures that help us to grieve and heal from devasting losses that often turn our world upside down. We are conditioned to close-down our innate emotional intelligence – to squash down and ignore big difficult emotions.
We have never been taught how to deal with grief and because it remains such a taboo subject, as a result we don’t know how to process it when it does come along.
Our ingrained beliefs about ‘being strong’ and how showing emotion is seen as weak, make us act in a way that suppresses our grief. We just carry on. And it’s this suppression which leads to all kinds of physical manifestations.
Unresolved grief can manifest as:
· Panic attacks
· Not being able to eat
· Social anxiety
· Explosive anger
· An inability to concentrate
· A desire to isolate
It can also lead to so many unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to avoid our feelings:
· Over or under eating
· Excessive consumption of alcohol
· Drug addiction
· Sleeping too much
If we don’t address and move through our grief, we are likely to stay stuck and be held hostage by a painful past, never realising our full potential and experiencing real happiness. Post traumatic growth is possible after any loss or grief, but we must allow ourselves the time and space to unpack our real feelings and address the beliefs and wounds we carry in our hearts. If we allow ourselves to grieve fully, we can go on to live a full, purposeful, and joyous life. Emotional honesty is key here, along with getting into our hearts and understanding how we really feel.
Dipti Solanki’s new Journal Grief, Heartbreak & Hope – There is So Much More to Say, is available on Amazon now. It provides a series of prompts to provide anyone who has experienced loss with much needed hope and healing affirmations and exercises. The aim of the journal is to help anyone who has experienced the death of someone close to them so they can move through grief at their own pace and experience a poignant and transformative inner journey.