You’ll always remember your loved one, you’ll be comforted by your memories, and you’ll even feel joy again! It’s time to learn how to stop grieving and start letting go of your loved one. Here, you’ll learn the difference between grieving your loss and letting go of someone you love.
“Thank you for these ideas on surviving the grieving process,” says Marcy on How to Survive the Grieving Process After an Unexpected Loss. “I lost my boyfriend of 8 years exactly one year ago, and I’m still struggling to let go. I do feel better and am through a lot of the grief cycle but I still have trouble letting go of his stuff. I know I can do it and I want to move forward, but I think it would help to know what it means to let go. I don’t want to forget him but I do want to live again. I’m only 32 and I feel like I have a lot of life left to live.”
The truth is that you can’t really learn “how to stop grieving” — but you can learn what it means to let go of a loved one. You won’t lose your memories or the person you loved and lost, but you will learn how to live lighter and more freely.
You can let go – and I think you’re ready to stop grieving because you’re here! You can learn how to get beyond the heavy weight of grief, and move into the lighter freedom of letting go and stepping into a new season of your life.
How to Stop Grieving Your Loss and Start Letting Go
I’m writing a book called How to Let Go of Someone You Love, and I’ve been researching the difference between grieving and letting go. There is an important difference between the two types of grief.
If you can move past grieving into letting go, you’ll find peace, acceptance, and even joy in your life. You won’t necessarily stop grieving, but grief and pain won’t weigh you down.
1. Practice the art of “so be it”
You know how you say “Amen” after a prayer? The word “Amen” means “so be it.”
Learning how to stop grieving and start letting go is about accepting what God has allowed in your life with a hearty and true “amen”! Saying “so be it” means you accept what life has thrown your way, and you know deep in your heart that He really is working together all things for your good (Romans 8:28 for the Christians in the crowd).
When you let go and focus on acceptance, you stop living in the past. You don’t worry or complain about the direction your life is going. You stop yearning, obsessing, wishing for what was. When you learn how to stop grieving and start recovering from loss, you find yourself actively working with whatever God or life has allowed into your life.
2. Learn the difference between grieving and letting go
Grief is the emotional pain and suffering you feel when you lose a loved one. Grief is a natural, healthy response to any type of loss in your life. The emotions that accompany grief are often unexpected, confusing, and overwhelming; they can even disrupt your physical and spiritual health. There are no right or wrong ways to grieve, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain and let go of the past.
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One of the healthiest ways to survive the grieving process is to learn what it means to let go of a loved one. In contrast to grief, letting go is accepting loss, surrendering to God’s will, and moving into a new season of your life. Letting go is loosening your internal attachment to someone or something in your past, releasing your grip on something or someone you no longer have.
3. Start the process of letting go
Letting go doesn’t mean you forget the past or suppress memories of your loved one. Rather, letting go means surrendering to your life as it is now. You hold on to your faith and rest in God’s will. You know He loves you, and you believe everything He allows into your life has a reason and purpose. When you let go of the past, you actively and humbly surrender to God’s authority in your life. You’ll find it a little easier to stop grieving your loss if you really believe you’re the child and He is your Father.
It’s important to learn how to stop grieving your loss because holding on to the past preoccupies your heart, mind, and soul. And, holding on to a loved one — or something in your past — blocks your relationship with others. Gripping the past clouds your vision and affects every other relationship in your life. When you truly believe God is working all things together for your good, then you not only accept the losses in your life…you embrace them.
If you’re finding it difficult to start letting go, read How to Survive the Grieving Process After an Unexpected Loss.
4. Learn why it’s so hard to let go of your grief
We don’t like change. Even positive, healthy change is difficult to accept! We want people and places the way they were because we knew what to expect, how to act, where to go. Life was easy and predictable. We felt safe and comfortable…even if we weren’t always happy. We resist letting go of what we know because we’re creatures of habit; we’re built for order, structure and routine.
We also cling to the past because of fear of the unknown. Before the loss, we knew how our relationships worked, how our loved ones would respond to this or that, what their favorite foods were, when to anticipate an annoying habit. We knew what to expect in our relationships, we knew how to act, what to say, what to do. And they knew us. They loved us, accepted us, and shared our history with us. We shared memories and experiences, food and vacations. We shared pets, children, homes, problems, celebrations. Now they’re gone, home is different…and letting go of the past is scary. What does the future hold? How will we face it alone?
That’s why it’s easy to write a blog post – or even a book – on “how to stop grieving your loss and start letting go”…but the actual process is much more difficult.
5. Let go, but don’t forget
If you know you should learn how to stop grieving and start letting go, you’re normal. You don’t want to lose your connection with the past, and you want to keep your loved one close. You miss him. You want them him. And, letting go feels dangerous because untethers you from what you knew, from your past. The future might involve failure, rejection, betrayal, loneliness, disappointment…and that’s scary.
Letting go doesn’t mean you forget the past. Letting go isn’t about erasing your history or suppressing your memories. You’ll always remember and feel close to your loved one, even while you let go. The difference is that you’ll stop grieving your loss. You won’t live in pain, longing for the past, or feel stuck in your grief. Your memories will be positive and healthy, instead of sad and painful. You’ll keep your loved one alive in your heart and in the world by bringing them forward into this new season of your life.
Help With the Grieving Process
In Progressing Through Grief: Guided Exercises to Understand Your Emotions and Recover from Loss, therapist Stephanie Jose describes how she became well acquainted with grief when she suddenly lost her best friend. She understands and has experienced firsthand the grieving process, as well as many of the same feelings as her patients.
This book is divided into three sections, each focusing on key factors to help with healing through grief:
- Understanding why grieving is important, and how grief affects your body.
- Identifying complicated feelings and learning skills for coping with them.
- Journaling to move through overwhelming feelings and practicing self-care through relaxation techniques, nutrition tips, and meditation practices
Progressing Through Grief isn’t a book on how to stop grieving, but it does provide practical methods for coping with immediate feelings of loss, as well as the difficult emotions that can persist – and even grow more painful – over time.
How do you feel about the idea of learning how to stop grieving your loss and start letting go? Feel free to share your thoughts and memories below – I welcome all comments, big and little!