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Self Help Ideas  - Now You Can Say Goodbye

Recently a woman said to me, "I can’t seem to stop crying!" Her son had died 6 years previously and still her heart ached for him.

You might have lost a child or a loving partner, a pet, a business, anything or anybody you’ve treasured or held on to. There is seldom enough time to truly say goodbye – and so we grieve. We cry, feel depressed, uninterested in life and avoid socializing. There seems to be no way to ease the pain of loss, rejection or betrayal.

If this sounds familiar and relevant for your life, you might like to try these few self-help approaches:

  • The Empty Chair Technique: Pretend that the departed person is sitting in an empty chair placed in front of you. Pour out your heart; say those words that were never said. Now ask the ‘person’ how they felt at the time of the separation or trauma, why did they behave as they did?

The next step is to sit in that chair and reply to your own empty chair. Speak as if you were the other person. Then, when that’s finished, return to sit in you’re chair again and talk to the person; and so on. Be prepared for tears, rage, surprises. Ten to 15 minutes is enough at a time. Play some heart-opening music later or go for a walk in the garden or a park. This technique lifts a burden from the heart.

  • Forgiveness Exercise: Write out on one sheet of paper all the good things you remember about the departed person. On another sheet list out all of the negative, hurtful or disappointing things about them. Tear the negative ones into separate strips and prepare to burn each one.

One by one, read one negative and place it in the flame. As it burns say aloud these four things, "I forgive you for this. Please forgive me for my reaction to this. Dear God, I know you forgive me. I now forgive myself." This exercise allows light into the heart again.

  • Global Labelling: This happens when we give a derogatory label to ordinary behaviour or circumstances. It is easily rebutted by sticking to the facts. That is, instead of saying "I am fat", say, "I am 6 kilos over my ideal weight"; instead of "I acted like an idiot", say "I got a bit flustered when she asked me if I’d been married before". Don’t distort – think real.
  • Write and Burn a Letter: This technique combines the previous two. Put down everything you feel and ever wanted to say about the loss, death or separation. Describe your pain, confusion, fear, rage and despair. Tell of your love or hate, gratitude or disappointment. Put it all down, perhaps over several days or weeks.

Tear the pages into strips. As you burn each one, repeat the four forgiveness phrases for each strip.

  • Self-Help Audio: Listen a few times to the CD that is most relevant to your needs and you will notice the powerful healing effect it has on you.

Not all grief can be resolved alone. If you find the going too hard, or nothing changes, a few sessions of personal therapy can make all the difference.

Relevant CDs

  • Healing through Grief, Loss and Death
  • Letting Go of the Past