Grief is complex, it comes in waves and sometimes you catch yourself being happy. This can bring feelings of guilt because you think you should be grieving your person. When we experience loss and sadness, it can be difficult to find joy in our lives again. It’s important to remember that grieving is a natural process, and it’s possible to find happiness in the midst of it all.
Grieving the loss of someone or something can be overwhelming, the process often feels too long and difficult. Friends and family can make it feel like it should be going quicker. They want to speed your grief up and “move on” (whatever that means). Amongst all this confusion it’s hard to imagine that you can ever feel happy again or rediscover joy in your life.
This is a great time to remind your friends and family that grief is different for every person, even if you’ve lost the same person.
Grief is a natural process
It’s important to remember that grieving is a process and it will take as long as you need it to take. No-one can tell you that you should be over it by now, especially if they haven’t experienced grief themselves. Your grief is your grief, just like love is love.
Your brain is trying to make sense of this new situation you’re in. Everything has changed, your world was certain yesterday and today you don’t know how you’re going to survive.
Rediscovering joy during the grieving process is easier said than done. I encourage you to give yourself time to grieve and ask for help from others. You might want to talk to a professional too.
Make sure you surround yourself with friends and family who are present for you, no matter how you are in that moment.
Learn to have self-compassion. After all, happiness does sneak into your life as your brain works out what you’ve been through and how you’ll survive. It’s a shocking reality when it happens.
I thought I’d share my process when it started to sneak back into my life and what I did. I found it helpful to focus on the happiness in my life and hope you did too?
What I did to capture the happiness
When joy or happiness snuck into my day, I did the following:
I bought an art journal/journal
- Did a quick title page and called it “Grief”
- At the end of each day, I drew what I was feeling
- Then gave words to the drawing
- After writing in it every night for a few minutes I added a title “and Me”. This was especially about how I felt and how people were with me
- For me, thinking about what made me happy during the day helped me sleep better and lifted my mood.
It was lovely to write and feel my day just before I went to bed and not just think about it.
I’ve decided to continue this “Grieving to Rediscover Joy” journal. So, I can track the joy in my life and know that sometimes I am happy.
The Wrap Up
Grief changes your life forever and sometimes you feel guilty about being happy, however it’s possible to hold two opposite feelings (such as, happiness and sadness) at the same time.
When you’re grieving it’s easy to be consumed by your absolute sadness, I find it helpful to look for the glimpses of happiness and map them by either writing or in some other creative way helps you move through your grief.
By doing this you can see that you do have both light and dark in your life and that’s okay.