When you suffer a devastating loss either from death, divorce or abandonment it changes you. You may not even realize it. Our focus is loss from death. Suddenly you notice that you are not hanging out with the same people, and many of the people you have pulled away from were previously very good friends or relatives. You may be angry or grumpy more often than not. You may be weepy or tired or just plain sad. When the numbness of the loss starts to lighten up and you are paying more attention it can be that you realize your priorities have changed. Some folks whom you once thought you had so much in common with now seem juvenile in their behavior and not as interested in the world you now value more due to the shift in your priorities. The death of a loved one does that to you. You realize that partying, shopping excessively, drinking, or other things that occupied your time just seem trivial now. Loss changes you. It can be a wake-up call to be healthier and to take better care of yourself and others. It can make you see that you should spend your precious time doing more important activities such as putting yourself first…lose weight, stop bad habits, start working on your bucket list, enjoy life. That doesn’t mean you ignore your family or other obligations. It just means you get to set your priorities. Embrace the new you. Some folks want to get through their grief and go back to who he or she was before the death. That isn’t usually possible because you have evolved. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross loved to say, “Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the beauty of their carvings.” It is so true. You are shaped by the storm you endured. A new you has been created. It is okay to say goodbye to people who no longer share your values. Think of it as outgrowing them. I liken it to when you switched from elementary to middle and middle to high school you probably didn’t keep the same friends. You may have kept a small core group but not everyone because as you grew older yours and their interests changed. No apologies needed. Wish them well but don’t hang on to people who ignored you when you needed support or who are more interested in numero uno. Cherish those who were there for you during your dark days. For what it’s worth, I give you permission to put yourself first so that you can focus on healing.
Be the canyon. Enjoy the new you.