When strong looks different

May 02, 2024

Maybe you’re the kind of person who is always helping others. You’re resourceful – you can find answers and solve problems. You get things done. People depend on you.

  • You consider yourself strong.
  • You’ve gotten through tough times before.
  • You’ve got grit and perseverance.
  • You’ve often thought of yourself as capable and resilient.

And then the unthinkable happened and it stopped you in your tracks.

Of course it did.

And yet, it’s not long before the people in your life expect your former self to reemerge.

It’s not long before you start to expect your former self to reemerge. And when she doesn’t, you think you’re wallowing.

Feeling sorry for yourself.

It’s easy to become disgusted with yourself.

To decide that you’re doing it wrong.

That you should be able to figure this out.

That you should be further along by now.

Here’s the truth. Your person’s death changed you, too. It’s that catastrophic. Your former self is in the past.

The current version of you is temporary. She’s picking up the pieces. Her brain is literally rewiring itself to understand the world without his physical presence. Her brain is functioning differently than ever before.

Her relationships are shifting, changing, and in some cases, ending.

The secondary losses are hitting hard and fast. Some she saw coming, but many she didn’t. She is grieving a shared past, the day-to-day presence of her person, and the future they planned and looked forward to.

Let’s cut her some slack.

Self-criticism feels extra terrible, and it keeps us in a spin cycle of stuck and suffering.

To the degree that you can drop the self-criticism, you will begin to heal and grow.

You’ll allow yourself to get the help you need.

That’s what the strongest people do - they get help. Professional athletes have athletic coaches guiding them. Business leaders have executive coaches. Doctors see other doctors. Therapists often have their own therapist. Coaches have their own coach.

Not because they’re not strong or smart or resourceful, but because they’re so up close and personal with their daily life that it’s tough to see the bigger picture. They’re too “in it” to step back, analyze, question what’s not working, and find what will.

When we have a broken bone, we go to the doctor immediately. But when it’s a broken heart, we hesitate. We think we should be able to solve it on our own. To stitch up our own wounds.

And it can be done, but it’s the slower and more inefficient path. And in the meantime, we try to pour from an empty cup to support those we love.

I hope you’ll seek out the help you need. And keep seeking until you find the right fit for you. You shouldn’t have to do this alone.

Strength looks different in life after loss. It doesn’t mean you have to figure it out yourself. It does mean that you find the help you need.

My coaching program is called Life Reconstructed. It's exclusively for widowed people, and it can help you. Click below to learn more. 

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

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