Everyone has moments of pain and distress. We all have the tendency to struggle in those difficult moments. When the demands of our lives stretch us to our limits, when we feel the intense grief of a loss, or we are overcome with sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety– and we struggle or fight against our trying emotions, it’s like sinking in the swamp. We only add more suffering to an already difficult moment.
In the past few years, I’ve had to learn some lessons again and again. I’ve experienced a lot of difficulty and loss. There have been moments that I have been literally brought to my knees with the pain.
Grief is messy, confusing, immensely painful, and never seems to follow a linear path. This is the time when we need to deeply take care of ourselves, and yet, why is it that this is also when we beat ourselves up the most? We can take moments to actively bear witness to our own suffering and fully accept it.
Notice your pain, acknowledge how it feels and that the world, as you have known it, has changed. Try to at least recognize that you need some support and care at this time. Take a step today by showing kindness to yourself. There is another, more gentle, courageous, and skillful way to meet our moments of pain, and it’s powerful.
Showing self-kindness means being understanding, accepting, and compassionate towards oneself, rather than been harsh and critical. Self-kindness does not require a person to ignore their suffering or to immediately let themselves off the pain of their loss. Instead, it asks people to approach experiences like these with a more flexible, open, and empathetic attitude as opposed to one of shame and blame.
For many, self-kindness is easy to understand but tough to live. People often feel their self-criticism is what keeps them in line. They fear that without it they won’t know when they’ve done something wrong or push themselves to be as good and productive as they can be. But there’s no evidence to support this concept and such self-criticisms can create stress for the person and undermine their sense of self-confidence and competence.
Grief is a distressing experience that challenges a person to cope while at the same time facing a complex life filled with jobs, housework, bills, family, parenting, friends, etc. To make things even more challenging, grief sometimes involves feelings of guilt, regret, humiliation, low self-esteem, and loss of identity.
How to treat yourself with kindness while grieving
- Don’t compare
- Stay in love and life
- Get up and get dressed
- Prayer and meditation
- Allow yourself to feel
- Be grateful
- Be gentle with yourself
- Write it down
- Focus on basic needs like breathing, sleeping, eating, and connecting
Authored by Lead Consultant of 4LargeMinds; Mojisola Ogunkoya