By Heather Macon
Shedding to grow is important.
Grief will not weigh me down today! Before I got out of my sheets this morning, I mouthed those words while staring blankly at the ceiling. Those were my thoughts immediately after I woke up feeling perplexed about a confusing, yet loving and steamy dream about a past lover and our relationship. I mean this was a relationship and experience for the books, honey! The dream was everything I think I needed in my six hours or so of rest. I spent time recollecting my thoughts from the dream, interpreting what the possible meaning could be, and even found myself missing this individual. Aside from that dream itself, I have many days where I grieve past experiences, places I’ve lived, people in various phases of my life, but I even grieve my past self.
I grieve my past self often.
Grieving our past selves can happen, but moving forward is important. This past week in my therapy session, my therapist asked me if my identity has grown with me as time has passed. I struggled with that question although I know that on most days I am hard on myself because I expect things to be a certain way because of what I am used to. This sentiment falls in the realm of love, career, friendships/relationships, and the work I produce. I find myself grieving the person I once was in a particular job, relationship, the city I’ve lived in, and the list goes on.
I have to remind myself often that my wants and needs are going to change, and I am going to change. With that, grief can pay us a visit on any given day, or ride alongside with us for quite some time.
Celebrate yourself for your growth. In any way that you can, celebrate yourself. Whatever praise and celebration look like for you, swim in it. Some days, I may praise myself for the smallest transition or changed habit and it truly makes a difference. It may come in waves, but each day I spend time with the thought of gratitude and I inch toward celebrating any success. Realize that growth can come in any form or accomplish a goal.
Remind yourself often of your past prayers, goals, and desires. There are days that I reflect on what I once thought, verbally expressed, or asked God to lead me in. On some of my toughest days, I remind myself of what I am striving toward and what sacrifice may look like for me. I don’t say that to encourage suffering, but I am a firm believer in having faith in the unknown. I re-read my prayers that I write down, or daydream about the life of ease that I recreate for myself often, those are my subtle reminders.
Ask yourself, “who am I now?” My therapist asked me this in the session I mentioned above. There are days where I can answer that in bullet point descriptive notes, sometimes I am rambling with myself (even out loud), but I can admit there are days where I simply don’t know. These days are hard, trying to balance multiple things at once, and moving rapidly, who am I as these days grow and I change?
Reshape your thoughts. There are days where my not-so-pleasant thoughts overpower my optimism but I try to remind myself often that I am not the same person I was last year, last week, or as early as yesterday. Reshaping my thoughts have been aided with weekly therapy, journaling, and also time. I’ve given myself the time to just sit with my current thoughts and figure out where I can shift my perspective.
Grief in any aspect isn’t easy. This is an ever-growing journey, learn through the process.
Heather Maconis a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Heather is a creative who enjoys art in all forms. You can follow her on Twitter @HJanaii.