Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one knows the pain and darkness that can come along with the loss. While everyone experiences loss and the associated grief differently, there can sometimes be a sense that happiness and joy may be unattainable again.
Can you be happy again? Thank goodness the answer is yes. Here are some thoughts to help you along your path.
Give Yourself Time
One of the first things you can do to regain your happiness is to give yourself permission, and the time, to grieve. A close loss can cut deep, and you can’t expect to be unaffected. Don’t feel as if you have to be a hero. Accepting the loss and giving yourself time lays the foundation for a return to happiness.
The loss of a loved one can bring along with it a wave of emotions. This can include guilt. It may be guilt about something said or unsaid. It may be about hard feelings or a missed opportunity. Getting back to happiness takes a recognition that all of us, everyone, can have those feelings. We are not perfect and can make mistakes, errors, and omissions.
You may regret a mistake or missed opportunity, but it shouldn’t keep you from being happy again. Release that guilt for an opportunity to move on.
Take Small Steps
Don’t feel compelled to rush through the process and begin socializing with large groups. It can be just fine to take small steps like having coffee or lunch with a friend, cooking for the family, or handling a small unpleasant task. You have the power to adjust to your new circumstances at your own pace and at your own comfort level. Don’t be afraid to turn down help if you are not ready. On the other hand, accepting help from a good friend or family member may help you move on.
Focus on the Future
It can be easy to stay mired in the past. It is what you know, are familiar with, and may seem to bring you comfort. Happiness, however, lies in the future and in what’s ahead. You can respect the past while building a new future that will once again include smiles and joy. That is worth looking forward to.
Plan Things to Look Forward To
Begin filling up your calendar with things you would like to do or people you would like to see. It may be a long weekend, going to a play or concert, or going to the beach. Plan experiences you may find joy in.
Redefine What Makes You Happy
Things have changed. It is likely that what makes you happy may have changed. This is a time to rediscover and even redefine your happiness.
If you or a loved one needs help rediscovering happiness in grief, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our caring professionals, and we’ll do our best to connect you to a suitable grief support resource.