Things unsaid can hold you back.
Going through change is hard.
Those transition points in our lives — divorce, breakups, kids going to college — are always traumatic, but there are few experiences that can shake a person to their core more than the death of a spouse or a partner.
Suddenly, your life together has come to an abrupt end, consuming you with grief and forcing you to ask the question “What am I supposed to do next?”
You can see their full discussion in the above video, but they mention that one of the most common things women ask them after losing a spouse is “What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life?”
However, the team at SAS for Women point out that most women should actually be asking themselves a different question.
The real question is “What are you afraid of?”
They give this example:
They were working with a woman who had recently lost her husband. This woman could not bring herself to get rid of her husband’s possessions. Their closets were still filled with his clothes, but she simply could not seem to make herself get rid of them.
She didn’t know how she could move on with her life. Recognizing that her hesitancy was based in fear, SAS for Women talked to the woman about her anxieties and realized that her biggest worry was that she might one day forget her husband.
(Which is such a common emotional response to losing someone that close to you.)
The irrational part of her fear was her concern that, if she gave away her husband’s things, it might erase her memories of him. And, while that’s understandable, it’s just not possible. Giving away a few objects can’t physically erase your memories of someone.
The rational part of her fear was based on very real emotions — she wanted to keep her husband near to her in whatever way she could as she moved into this new chapter in her life.
That was something she could actually act on.
She gave away the majority of his clothes, but kept one special suit in her closet. She kept a special framed picture of him next to her bed.
She found ways to honor him in her house that wouldn’t prevent her from moving forward with her life.
The woman began the grieving process unable to imagine what the rest of her life would look like, but her REAL concern wasn’t about the uncertainty of the future — it was all about her fear of having to give up the past.
If you’ve experienced a major loss, before you start worrying about tomorrow, ask yourself “What am I afraid of TODAY?”
Chances are, there are some major unresolved anxieties that are preventing you from even being able to think about “What comes next?”
And, if you can’t identify or work through those fears on your own, seek out a coach or a counselor to help you through it. It can make a big difference.