One of the things I’ve learned this year is that you have traditional grief — for a breakup or someone who passes away — and you have grief that people don’t quite understand. Grief for the things that you thought were going to happen — a dream you had, experiences you missed out on, plans that didn’t go as you thought they would. I’ve been there and it is not easy to let go of the life you’ve wished you had. It’s sometimes hard for others to understand — which is also understandable — but it doesn’t mean that you can’t grief.
If this year you want to focus on getting your life together and leaving your expectations behind, than this blog post is for you.
Here are my tips on how to deal with grief of how your life should’ve turned out:
YOU’RE ALLOWED TO GRIEF
One thing I know is that you’re allowed to grief. It feels weird because you didn’t really lost anything — you’ve lost something you’ve imagined. But you need realize it’s a natural reaction to have. We’re all emotional human beings and the only way to get through it is to acknowledge that you’re feeling regret. Even when it feels like it’s not a normal reaction, you feel what you feel.
IT’S NOT A LINEAR PROCES
You will have times you fall back in a different stage of grief. You will see or remember something and all of the sudden you will feel sad about the situation when you thought you moved passed it. Grief is not a linear process. You will roll in and out of different stages. That doesn’t mean you never going to get passed it. At some point you will compartmentalize your grief.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF…
When you’re in the stages of grieving about how your life should’ve turned out, you often blame yourself for failing yourself. Maybe you didn’t give it your all or you let life happen instead of making it happen.
…BUT LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
My biggest downfall is that I always envision things in a big way. I never really settle and I always want it all. But the only person I fail is myself with this line of thinking. I still don’t believe in settling but I do believe that sometimes you need to lower your expectations. Things will never turn out exactly how you’ve imagined them — part of the beauty of life — so do everything you can do and then leave the rest up to the universe.
Whenever you feel sad about what should’ve happened, think to yourself: Is it really the end of the world if it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to?
FOCUS ON THE NEXT
One thing I know for sure: this is not the end. You can go over all the couldas, shouldas, wouldas all you want but they’ve passed. There is no use in staying stuck on them. Focus on the next. What can you do right now to get you towards where you want to be?
Sometimes it’s about letting go of what you wanted out of life and find a new path. Other times, you can still do all the things you cloud, should and would have. Time doesn’t stand still but you’re also able to move forward. It’s never too late to go after what you want.