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Moving beyond your pain in GRIEF – do you love yourself enough to do it?

Too often what goes on for us around the death of someone we love gets lumped together and called ‘grief’……..even when it isn’t all about the death.

Yes, you are suffering from the loss of someone so very dear to you.  And the impact of that can hit you harder than you might have imagined, and in every single nook and cranny of your life.  But this is not now the single source of any troubles and the only explanation for the hurt and pain in your life.

Physical stress and pain may be down to not taking care of yourself or a physical illness. I know of someone whose sister almost died from a heart condition because nobody spotted it – as she got thinner and weaker everyone attributed it, without question, to the recent loss of her husband.  Some of your unhappiness might still be about the job you despise or the difficulties in your relationship. It is so important to question what is your G.R.I.E.F and what isn’t, otherwise you have no chance of resolving these other issues.

But here is the biggest thing we miss in our pain of loss: whether you love yourself enough or not.  I saw this picture on facebook today and it summed it up perfectly:

(Love yourself.  You do more for someone you love than for someone you don’t, right?)

There is a very direct correlation between how you feel about yourself and how quickly you heal from your grief or if you do at all.  There are two sets of feelings tied up in this loss – how you feel about the person you’ve lost and how you feel about yourself.  And there are two ways this impacts you:  fear of moving forward on your own and deserving.


I have found again and again and again that those struggling the most to move past their pain are often those who struggle most with themselves.  People who identify with having lost a soulmate (whether a partner, parent, friend or sibling) are hit very hard – not only because of what they feel they have lost….but also very much with the concept of being more independent or stepping forward with their own life or owning their own space/power – which can be a scary scary thing.

A great example is a woman I worked with who had lost her father. They were incredibly close, she described him as her soulmate and would speak with him around 20 times a day, calling him even when deciding what to put on her toast in the morning.

Now it may seem obvious that she would struggle with the loss of her constant companion and soulmate.  But there was one hidden element that was definitely going to hold her back from moving forward: the thought of having to stand on her own two feet and make her own decisions was terrifying to her.  Think about it – as lovely as their relationship was, she wasn’t used to trusting herself to make any decisions.  She was used to consulting someone else even on the matter of whether to spread peanut butter or marmite on her toast. She wasn’t empowered to make her own decisions and was suddenly in a place where she had to……and she wasn’t ready for this.  Part of what was her grief was an overwhelming fear of how to decide anything now on her own.   A fear of how to live her own life…and a fear that she couldn’t do it.  And until she could feel a bit better about that she would not let go of any of her pain.

This is not an unusual situation.  Think about some of the times when you miss your mum or dad or someone else that you’ve lost the most.  Were some of them around a time when you would have asked their advice or opinion? Or when they would have done something for you that you don’t know how or aren’t confident to do for yourself?   Do you see this as an opportunity to empower yourself and learn to do the thing or make the decision that you didn’t think you could before? Or do you just feel totally lost and like you can’t do it without them?


How much you love and trust yourself has a big impact on what you attract to yourself in life.  If you don’t think much of yourself you are unlikely to attract an amazing partner, work you love, lots of money, etc – very simply because deep down you don’t really believe you deserve any of it.   Because you won’t think you are good enough to have all of that. And this really comes into play in what you do to get beyond your grief.  You have to believe you deserve more than this to have more than this.

So if you know there is definitely something lacking in your self-worth or self-love I can promise you that this will be keep you more stuck in your pain.

So let’s do something about that.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll go over some of the things you can put into your ‘love yourself plan’ – the plan you create to help you build better stronger foundations under yourself.  Doing this will not only help you in healing your grief but with any aspect of your life that you want to grow and improve in the future.  You owe it to yourself to love yourself more. You owe it to the person you’ve lost too.





Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC) December 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Kristie, this is a wonderful post and one that really resonates with me. I look forward to the next installment.

Nancy's Point December 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Very thought-provoking post, although I don’t entirely agree with all your points. I look forward to reading more.

Nora December 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Another spot-on post, Kristie! As I read this post, one thing kept coming to mind: if the person who has died loved and trusted you to be reasonable and competent and happy, then why doubt their faith in you? You know they would approve of your embracing happiness! In the months and years following my husband’s death, I regularly came upon situations I had no tools for, because all my tools were developed in tandem with him. Nobody to discuss the best options for appliance repair, nobody to offer alternatives for dinner, nobody to get my jokes, etc etc. I had to learn all my own preferences all over again (or in many cases for the first time, since I was 18 when we married) and decide whether to keep doing things as he preferred them or branch out and try something different that might suit me, alone, better. I was fortunate, if I can use that term here, that I was a mature adult with a long work history with colleagues who respected me, so I had some reason to trust myself. And I knew that my husband had admired and relied on my competence and intelligence to keep our lives moving forward. So if my happiness was his top priority, then why shouldn’t it now be mine?

Kristie West December 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Hi Marie,
thanks! Next one will be next week now. Happy new year to you.

Kristie West December 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Hi Nancy,
The next post will be on next week. Happy new year to you!

Kristie West December 31, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Hiya Nora,

of course you can use the word fortunate! At least you know it is safe to here. 😉 As I often say ‘we never know how strong our mums are till our dads die’. It is often only when a partner dies that we then have to start to learn to do the things we never thought we could and discover a strength, independence and confidence that we never even dreamed we could have. I have seen this so consistently in women who have lost husbands/partners. And as if the spouse and partner wouldn’t want to see us stepping in to own power like that?!
Good call, as always, Nora. 🙂
Happy new year to you!

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