After a loss, many people feel anger towards themselves
or others. Whether the loss was an important possession, a job or career, your
health or the death of someone close to you – feeling anger is normal.
common thoughts may be: “It is not fair!”
“Why did this happen to me?” “I
did not deserve this.” “My loved one did
not deserve to die like that!” “Life is
not fair.” “What am I going to do
It is important to realize that your feelings are
valid. You have the right to feel however you are feeling right now.
What we do with those feelings can either cause more pain or bring healing. We need to
get our feelings out – express them, not suppress them.
I. Journal abut your feelings.
gives you the time and place to express your feelings in a safe way. You can
work out how you really feel. Journaling gives you the freedom to state things
anyway you like.
Hiding or ignoring your emotional issues can have a very negative
effect on your mind and heart. You can ignore and delay - but not
escape the effects of your grief!
healing power of Journaling lies in the concept of “getting the
poison out”. Write about your loss, sadness and anger (if any), and anything
else you need to “get off your chest”.
Here are some suggestions to get your started:
1. Write about how you are
feeling right now.
2. What are some things that
people have said to you that
are clichés (e.g. “Time heals all wounds.”)
3. Now write about how their
comments made you feel.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I in shock or numb?
2. Am I feeling afraid?
3. Am I feeling depressed?
4. Am I feeling lonely?
5. Does life feel out of
6. Do I feel like crying a lot?
7. Am I having medical problems
(like chest pains) that I
should tell someone about?
one asks for grief or disaster. No one deserves to feel the pain that you are
experiencing right now.
However, as hard as it may be to acknowledge, you are
feeling pain and grieving now because you had something to lose.
Perhaps, a better question than “Why did this
happen to me?” would be to ask, “Would I be willing to give up having known the
person I loved, so that I would not be feeling this pain now?” The answer for
most of us would be “no”.
“All I know from my experience is that the
more loss we feel, the more grateful we should be for whatever we had to
lose. It means that we had something
worth grieving for. The ones I’m sorry for are the ones that go through life
not knowing what grief is." Frank
your journal all of what is in your heart. Spelling and handwriting do NOT
count, and you can use any words that help you express your feelings. If you
are angry at someone in particular, it may be better to not name them – you
know who you mean and that should be enough.
II. Journal about Guilt and
and remorse are relentless taskmasters. Feelings of guilt are a normal response
to loss. You may find yourself going over things in your mind – questioning
every thought, action or inaction before your loss. Many people ask “Why
didn’t I…” or “Maybe if I hadn’t …” or “If only I had not said or done _____,
this may not have happened.”
These kinds of thoughts are never helpful and are sometimes referred to as "magical thinking".
By believing that we could have prevented a tragedy by some action on our part, we set ourselves up for more pain and self-doubt.
No human has the power to control circumstances or prevent bad things from happening. The past cannot be changed - no matter how much or how long we try.
past cannot be changed; it can only be accepted. With an acceptance of the past
comes the possibility to plan the future.” June
with guilt can be an important part of your “grief work”. Write down the things
you feel guilty about. Then ask yourself:
a) Are my feelings of guilt
b) Can I change what I did or
did not do?
c) Is there something I can do
to make amends for this?
d) Since I cannot change or fix
what I did or did not do –
does it help to carry these feeling of guilt?
e) Will letting go of things I
cannot change help me?
thinking will only hinder your healing. It may be necessary to take time to
tell yourself “STOP – I don’t want to think about things I cannot change.” Then
work on remembering something good about the person you lost. Focus on positive
Coping skills can be developed to help you deal with recurring negative thoughts or pictures from your grief. Breathing and grounding techniques, positive imagery, and positive "self-talk" are just a few skills that may be helpful.
III. Journal abut
is a two-way street. It is difficult to ask forgiveness from someone else when
you are holding unforgiveness in your heart.
Forgiveness is life sustaining
– unforgiveness is life destroying. Unforgiveness is like an infection
that can spread to other areas of your life and steal any joy that you might
otherwise experience. It is possible to be unforgiving towards yourself or
you blame someone for your loss? Do you blame a co-worker, doctor, government
official or another person? How do your feelings of unforgiveness help you? Can those negative feelings bring back what (or who) you lost?
Someone once said that harboring hate and unforgiveness in your heart is like DRINKING POISON AND THEN WAITING FOR THE OTHER PERSON TO DIE!
gives you a place to write out what you need to be forgiven for – you can even
write a letter to the one you have harmed.
You can write to or about someone
who has harmed you. Letters can be written to loved ones even if they “passed
on” years ago.
can write how you feel, the good feelings and the bad. It is “OK” to be angry
with someone, even if they have died. By expressing how you feel, you can move
past the bad feelings (if any) and then just remember the good.
Letters to Loved Ones: The healing power of this
type of writing again lies in the concept of “getting the poison out”.
about your anger (if any), grief, or guilt and anything else you need to say.
If the letter is for someone who is still living,
several guidelines should be applied.
a) Say EXACTLY what is in your
heart, use angry words or
whatever you need to get your feelings out – but DO
NOT SEND the letter.
b) Spend time in prayer or
meditation (a day or two) then
re-read the letter and make any necessary
Remove any statements that may cause further
c) Work on the letter until it
is truly ready to be sent and
is a sincere effort to make amends.
d) REMEMBER - NEVER SEND AN ANGRY LETTER!