We have discussed shock, loneliness, and anger. But another common emotion you may feel is guilt.
Guilt may be experienced after a death for a number of reasons. It all involves focusing on the past; regrets for instance, or survivors guilt (or being the one who survived where a friend did not in an attack, ambush, natural disaster, or any other harrowing situation).
The key is to practice focusing on the good from the past, and forgiveness for the negative. In experiencing survivors’ guilt, it is important to realize you did not have control over the entire situation. Your lost friend would be happy and relieved that you made it out alive, so it is best to let go of the guilt.
If you experienced a startling trauma, as well, any form of stress or anxiety that stems from that event is not going to help your grieving process. You may need to talk to a doctor, therapist, or loved one about possibly receiving help and counseling for these effects. There’s nothing wrong in this, and it will help you recover other aspects of your life as it helps you work through your grief and stress.
Remember positive times between you and your friend; they remembered these times as well. Guilt can arise when you focus too much on the flaws in the relationship, or fights with this person; these happen with everyone, and in life your friend knew this. They also knew of your friendship, love, and all the good things you did for them as well. Remember these times, and focus on giving kindness and encouragement to those around you now, just as you did for your friend and loved one.
HH4Heroes Grief Easing Strategy #5
Creating Meaning from Your Loss. There is nothing that can make your loss or tragedy feel “okay”. Your life has been changed forever by the traumatic event(s). At some point, your grieving will end and your mourning period will pass. Consider creating meaning out of your adversity. One way to keep the memory of your loved one alive is to create something positive that can enhance the life of another. This can be a simple tribute at a school, place of worship or more elaborate memorial such as a scholarship fund for an activity that was of importance to him/her. In fact, your help in raising awareness and money for a cause related to your loved one in celebration of the good times and not only helps enhance someone else’s life but will also help you feel better.
Other aspects of guilt may come later during other stages of the grief process, as you begin to move on with your daily life, or even let go in other ways. You may begin feeling less sad, or become closer to someone else in the same form of relationship. It’s important to not feel guilty over these actions, and we will talk more about that in our upcoming blogs.
(If you are suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides trained telephone counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Crisis help is a phone call away: 1.800.273.8255)
Remember…happiness is an inside job!
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Independent filmmaker, author, happiness coach and speaker Lisa Cypers Kamen creates these blogs to entertain, enlighten and educate our service men and women along with their families as well as support our troops. To contact Lisa, email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her websites at www.harvestinghappiness.com , www.hh4heroes.org & www.harvestinghappinesstalkradio.com.
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Harvesting Happiness for Heroes is a pending 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation. Our mission objective is to offer support services to Warriors and Warrior families challenged by Combat Trauma, PTSD and post-deployment reintegration issues. HH4Heroes offers Battle Buddy workshops, family awareness training, online community support, one-on-one coaching services, as well as retreats for Warriors to decompress from battle and understand the tools available for them to adapt their military skills to civilian society.
Harvesting Happiness & Harvesting Happiness for Heroes provides positive psychology coaching tools to facilitate greater well-being. This communication is provided for education and inspiration. This communication does not constitute mental health treatment nor is it indicative of a private therapeutic relationship. Individuals desiring help for trauma, addiction and abuse related issues or other psychological concerns should seek out a mental health professional.
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