Are You Allowing Yourself to Grieve the Losses in Your Life?

When we hear the term “grieving” most of us think about the loss of a loved one. Grief can strike many of us in ways that we are not even aware of. When we go through major life changes, lose a job, go through a divorce or a break up, send a child to college or retire, these are all forms of loss that can cause grief.   Grief is the natural response of a loss of or end to something familiar, characterized by a feeling of deep sadness.   When one experiences a loss or change that results in a scenario where one must adapt to a new situation, there will be a grieving process. There is no “one size fits all” definition of what grief can mean to someone.

When you have a deep emotional attachment to a person, place, thing, pet, car or a situation, there are some parts of you that are so deeply entwined that it may seem impossible to let go. We must give ourselves permission to feel this true loss and work through it.

Loss may be something as simple as leaving a job or moving, in which case you have stepped away from something that had been an integral part of your life. People may experience loss when they go through personal growth and have to let go of certain relationships or fantasies of their childhood that are no longer a reality. When you lose something that has been a part of your life for any extended period of time, there will be grief.

Culture has imposed an unspoken timetable and perception to what grief should look like and how long it should last. There have been stages that have been assigned to grief with a set list of emotions that many go through and experience as well. We may experience emotions far different based on the particular situation that we are going through at a given time in our life.

Regardless of the situation that you or a loved one are going through, we must allow ourselves to feel what we need to feel, acknowledge it, and allow ourselves time to heal. There is no set time frame for grieving and the more we suppress it, based on what others think we should be doing, the longer the process may take. It is important for us to truly listen to our inner voice and let that be our guide.

Here are some situations that one may experience as a loss:

  • Retirement
  • Empty nesters
  • Infertility
  • Breaking-up / Divorce
  • Learning your child is gay
  • Child graduating from high school
  • Bankruptcy
  • Discovery of cancer or other terminal illness
  • Sale of car
  • Home sale
  • Change of job
  • Relocation
  • Death of a Pet

Take the time to realize that there may be things in your life that you have never allowed yourself to grieve. Whether it be a job you quit, a relationship that ended or discovering a family member is terminally ill, these are all losses that must be faced and grieved. While others may tell you to “get over it” or “move on”, give yourself permission to feel what you may have never allowed yourself to feel and talk with someone who can be understanding and supportive. Most importantly, don’t allow others to determine your grieving timeline.

Once you face the loss, you are better equipped and able to move on. It is amazing how we suppress things without even realizing that we have been doing it. Loss is not textbook and just because we have not experienced death in our life, we are still allowed to grieve over the loss or change of anything in our lives.

Life will go on but it is much easier when we face the reality of what we have gone through. There are great support groups for grieving and loss available in your community.


Tracy is a published author, Co-Founder of Invigorated Solutions (see and a certified Life Coach specializing in life transition coaching, career changes, major life changes and family matters.

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