The Four Phases of Grief

How we move through grief is individual, but the grief process can generally be divided into four phases:

  • The shock phase is the first and more violent phase, where our new reality must be understood in small pieces.

  • In the reaction phase, all the emotions come flooding in and can change from one moment to the next.

  • The repair phase may bring an understanding that it has ended with a break.

  • In the reorientation phase, we can lift our heads again and discover that life goes on.

5 steps to get through the loss of the one you love

1. Allow yourself to grieve 

The most crucial thing in a grieving process is allowing yourself to have the feelings you have, whether it’s sadness, anger, frustration, emptiness, rage or thirst for revenge. These are all normal emotions and completely human for you to feel them. You don’t have to act on all those feelings, but give yourself space and room to handle what comes up in you. It is an important part of your process, and it will pass again.

2. Reach out to those you care about

Let your girlfriends listen and tell them to speak up if they can’t take it anymore. Otherwise, you can just give in and vent your feelings. The girlfriends can last longer than you think. Also, move closer to the family members with whom you have a good, confidential relationship. Your crisis may feel like the end of the world, but it’s not. There is life on the other side, and the better you are at giving grief time, the better you will process what has happened.

3. Try to understand – and to let it pass 

It can provide relief to understand what has triggered your sadness and why it has happened. Whether your crisis is due to divorce, love, illness, death or something else, we humans need understanding, and that can be the first step forward. But we cannot always understand because life is not always understandable, so don’t tie too much energy up into creating meaning. If you can’t do it, let it pass. We can’t always understand each other. That’s how life is, and that’s how it has to be.

4. Set your ex free

If you find yourself hanging on too long in the hope that everything will be how it was (and only you can feel that), practice letting go. It is a waste of energy to hope and believe and pray that your reality will be different than it is. If your partner has moved on with someone else and you strongly feel that you belong together, let go anyway. If you’re right, he’ll probably come back. Don’t stalk him on social media and don’t contact him to stay connected. Let it go.

5. Go in and out of grief 

Everything is constantly changing. One day you will discover that you haven’t thought about you for five minutes, or that you are laughing from the bottom of your stomach again with your children or your girlfriends. You will get better, and the best way to get it is to live through your feelings as they change over time. Walk in and out of grief until it no longer has strength, and you are guaranteed to come out on the other side.

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