No seriously, congratulations.
You are doing it. You are surviving. You are breathing in and out, and you are putting one foot in front of the other. In the past, you probably wouldn't have considered these things accomplishments, but that was before you began walking around in the darkness of grief with a broken heart.
Over time, I've come to believe that coping with grief is about doing small things and taking tiny steps that shift your wellness gauge towards 'okay' bit-by-bit-by-bit. The downside of this is that grief can feel like ongoing and long lasting work, but the upside is that the work can be done in manageable doses and, most likely, you're already doing it. So congratulations. You're doing it. You're coping with grief.
I know many of you will want to reject my praise because grief has been known to cause
self-doubt false modesty. Many people feel not-good-enough because they compare themselves to their before-grief selves or some other ideal. So if you're comparing yourself to your before-grief self, stop right now. When you compare yourself to the before-grief you (or a more-perfect-future-you), you run the risk of overlooking your everyday wins and accomplishments and never noticing how far you've come.
Too often, grieving people beat themselves up for not being able to do things like get over it, get it together, keep it together, go back to normal, be strong, be inspiring, grow, grieve the 'right' way, and so on... when, in reality, a) some of these things are unattainable (i.e., getting over it, going back to normal, grieving the 'right' way) and b) the rest I'm willing to bet you're already doing in small ways each and every day.
So, at the risk of sounding cheesy, here's what I want you to do - Take some time to congratulate yourself on the steps you've taken in your grief. No matter how bad you feel or how much you think you're struggling, I guarantee there's at least one thing you can congratulate yourself for in this moment.
Congratulate yourself for getting out of bed today. I don't care what time it was when you got up or how long you waited before getting back in bed. You did it.
Congratulate yourself on getting dressed. I don't care if the only clean thing in your closet today was an old velour tracksuit from the early 2000s. Still counts.
Congratulate yourself on doing your school-work, work-work, or housework. So you don't do windows anymore? Smudged windows have character!
Congratulate yourself for seeking grief support. I don't care if all you could bring yourself to do was read this bonkers grief post. It's the first step.
Congratulate yourself for finding ways to grow, even though I know you'd trade all your growth to have your loved one back.
You get the picture.
Consider doing this as a journal exercise:
Congratulating yourself actually makes for a great journaling exercise. Simply spend some time completing the phrase:
I want to congratulate myself for ___________________________________________
We've even created a worksheet for this exercise. Download it below:
...And consider sharing with the WYG Community:
Sing your praises loud and proud. Congratulate yourself for one thing (or more) in the comment section below. When you've finished, reply to another person's comment and congratulate them for the good job they're doing. It feels good. We promise!
And don't forget to subscribe.
We wrote a book!
After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books: