How to live life when you’re a Crayon but you can’t figure out what color you are today?
This was a question in our recent self-reflection survey, and the responses we got surprised me a little. I expected those in the thick of grief to feel more like greys, whites, and blacks - colorless, if you will.
While there are some who feel this way, the vast majority of respondents identified with the idea of flip-flopping drastically between colors throughout the day.
I don’t know if anyone told you before that grief can be a roller coaster ride, but I hope you know what I’m talking about. One minute you’re fine, even laughing (a little), and the next minute you’re sobbing on the floor because you found a sentimental thing hidden away when you were cleaning out the closet. All these things are normal, as far as I can tell.
But it’s hard to know how to respond when a friend asks, “how are you?” or “how have you been doing with everything?” Depending on your mood, your answer can be completely different!
Do you identify at all with this statement?
" I usually allow myself to experience only a few emotions (selected according to what I or others think is appropriate to my situation). "
Healing will look different for everybody. I like to describe healing from grief as beginning to “live life in full color again.”
Grief artists learn to embrace the full spectrum of emotions.
Sometimes it can be confusing when one day you’re fine and the next day you’re not. When you’re in this in-between, it can feel like you’re two different people. Start to reconcile them by trying the following:
1.) When you’re having a good day:
- Write yourself a letter, or even make a list! Write what you’re thankful for, how you’re proud of yourself for overcoming so much already. Write an encouragement to yourself to read when you’re not feeling so great. Keep this letter in a place you can easily grab when the emotions start to take a downfall.
- Encourage someone or do a random act of kindness. You’ll find you feel even better than you thought you could.
2.) When you’re not having a good day:
- Ask yourself “why am I not OK right now?” Identifying the root cause may give you some ideas to remedy the situation.
- Call a friend who is “safe” for you to talk to and cry with. Tell them that you’ve been doing pretty good, but today you’re just not OK. They’ll understand.
- Go read the letter you wrote to yourself on your good day.
3.) On any old day:
- Share your grief story! Some people choose to do this on social media, some share in a support or church group, some share one-on-one with a friend. However you do it, it is important to share your story because it will help others, as well as yourself. It helps you by understanding how far you’ve come and how much you’ve overcome (talk about a confidence boost!). It helps those who are grieving, because they need to know that their emotional pain right now will indeed lessen over time. It even helps those who haven’t experienced loss yet, because it makes them aware of the process, and maybe helps them hold their loved ones a closer longer today.
- Learn about the grief process. Knowing what is “normal” is often so relieving!
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