From Grief to Peace: How Widows Can Overcome Limiting Beliefs
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Short and Sweet Summary: Does your brain play tricks on you and lead you to believe thoughts that aren’t true? Discover how widows can overcome their limiting beliefs about grief to let go of self-doubt and find peace again.
When you’re widowed, it’s hard to believe that you’ll ever feel peaceful about anything ever again.
It’s easy to feel defeated when you’re grieving because grief is so heavy and sad and uncomfortable. These feelings trick you into believing that life as you knew it is over and your future will be confusing and chaotic forever.
Don’t get me wrong. I felt all these feelings too.
I convinced myself that there was NO WAY I would ever be happy again. There was NO WAY I would ever stop feeling these extreme, overwhelming feelings. People I loved had died before, but I had never felt the intensity of these grief feelings until my husband died. And then it was GAME OVER.
I floundered for several years before I learned to identify the ways our brains play tricks on us. I tried every woo-woo idea and read every article I could find. One article would say to use tapping to clear energy blockages. Another article would recommend grief yoga or mindfulness meditation.
Just to be clear, I’m not knocking any of those ideas. I’ve actually used them and continue to use variations of these techniques to help me destress and decompress.
But if I’m being honest, I preferred to hunch over my phone, scrolling through sad grief quotes on Pinterest while sipping a glass (or three) of Pinot Noir. Because I didn’t think I had limiting beliefs. Because I thought I was working with facts. I thought it was a bonafide fact that I would be miserable forever. I want to show you how widows can overcome limiting beliefs because if I can do it, you can you can too.
Many widows think that accepting a miserable way of life is part of the grief process because they:
- feel overwhelmed by the emotional and practical challenges of adjusting to life without their partner
- feel a sense of loyalty to their dead partner and believe that moving forward and finding happiness is a betrayal of their love and commitment
- follow societal expectations and norms around grieving that lead them to believe that they should mourn for a certain period and not pursue any sort of personal fulfillment
I felt all of this and more.
However, I eventually learned that my husband’s death wasn’t the reason I was miserable. My limiting beliefs and my thoughts about his death were. If you’re anything like me, your limiting beliefs are tricking you into believing things that aren’t true, too.
You absolutely should NOT get bamboozled by these limiting beliefs!
Once I finally started questioning why I was thinking in absolutes (always and never) and believing that I somehow wasn’t worthy of peace or happiness because I was a widow, things changed. I recognized that I have the power to change my own thoughts and beliefs. This helped me feel more in control of my life and more confident in my ability to build the resilience I thought I lacked.
And guess what?
You can do it too!
Discover how widows can overcome limiting beliefs that may hold you back from finding the inner peace you crave and learn how to turn them into your superpowers.
Limiting Belief #1: I’m Not Capable of Handling Things on My Own
It’s easy to believe that you’re suddenly an incapable pile of mush that has no redeeming qualities or abilities.
Grief has a funny way of making you believe you’re somehow “less than” now that you’re solo. Add to that the responsibilities of managing a household, the finances, and every other practical matter by yourself and the pressure can be too much. You’re absolutely convinced you can’t handle these responsibilities without your partner.
This limiting belief creates a negative mindset that actually hinders your ability to find solutions to problems. When you question this limiting belief, you develop a more flexible and open-minded approach to problem-solving.
How to turn it into your superpower
First, challenge your belief. After all, it’s just a belief and you have no proof that it’s a fact (spoiler: it’s NOT).
And then ask yourself why you think you’re incapable of handling things on your own. Is it because you’ve never managed the finances before? Or you don’t know where to look for a reputable finance advisor? Maybe you avoid asking for help because you think you’re supposed to know how to do something before you learn how to do it?
Once you have the answers to all the things you don’t think you can handle on your own, think about what it would be like to think the opposite thought. What would it be like to learn how to manage your finances? What would it be like to ask for help? How would you feel if you could figure it out? Whatever “it” is?
When you cultivate a growth mindset, you stop thinking, “I can’t do this” and you believe you can learn how. Sit with these thoughts for a while. You don’t have to take action right away. Just think about the opposite thought and broaden your perspective of your capabilities.
Keep challenging yourself.
When you’re ready, try incorporating some of the following strategies and resources:
- Take small steps. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, start with small steps towards self-sufficiency. This can include learning new skills, organizing your home, or developing a financial plan. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small.
- Find resources and support. There are many resources available to widows, including support groups, counseling, and financial advice. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when needed.
- Celebrate your achievements. As you become more self-sufficient and tackle new challenges, celebrate your achievements along the way. Recognize the progress you’ve made and the strengths you’ve developed, and use these accomplishments to fuel your confidence.
Limiting Belief #2 – I Have to Be Strong and Not Show My Emotions
You may feel pressure to be strong and put on a brave face for everyone else, especially if you have kids or other family members who rely on you. This can lead to a belief that you should suppress your emotions and not show vulnerability or weakness.
I did the EXACT SAME thing. And I’m here to tell you it’s exhausting trying to be strong for everyone else. FREAKING EXHAUSTING. So, I’m recommending you don’t do that.
Embrace the power of vulnerability instead.
Many widows mistake vulnerability for weakness. But vulnerability isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. Being vulnerable allows you to create deeper and more meaningful connections with others because it allows them to see and understand your true self.
What’s bad about that?
Believing you shouldn’t show emotions can make it difficult for you to bounce back from setbacks or disappointments. By challenging this limiting belief and reframing it into a more practical light, you can build a greater sense of resilience and adaptability.
How to turn it into your superpower
When you turn the belief around and practice being strong by expressing your emotions, you become more real and convincing to others.
Even though you may think the right thing to do is to be strong and not show your emotions, acting that way makes you appear inauthentic. I mean, your person died. Most people don’t expect someone whose life partner died to be immediately resilient and ready to take on the world, right? When you’re open and honest about your own struggles and challenges, you create space for others to do the same. This can lead to more meaningful relationships, as well as a greater sense of belonging and support.
But, if the thought of embracing your vulnerability is too much to handle at first, start in a safe and supportive environment, like with a close friend or family member or a support group. As you become more comfortable expressing your emotions and telling it like it really is, instead of sugarcoating the obvious, you can gradually expand this practice to other areas of your life.
One important benefit of embracing your vulnerable side is that you develop a deeper sense of self-awareness and personal growth. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you open up the opportunity to gain insight into your own emotions, values, and motivations. This can help you understand yourself and your own needs better and lead to increased self-confidence.
Limiting Belief #3: I’ll Never Recover From This Loss
How many times have you told yourself it’s damn near impossible to recover from your loss? How many times have you thought “my person died, and it’s ridiculous to think I’ll ever move forward.”
You’re not alone. This is another belief that comes from a place of fear, and we all have them.
The fear of forgetting or somehow replacing your partner is a genuine fear. You picture all the reasons you’re a terrible person if you even think about moving forward, because that means you no longer love your dead partner.
But that way of thinking is kind of bananas, right?
The problem with this belief is that it can prevent you from accepting the reality of the loss, honoring the memory of your partner, and using the experience to build resilience and strength. If you learn one important lesson about how widows can overcome limiting beliefs, please make it this one.
How to turn it into your superpower
Accept the reality of your loss and allow yourself time to grieve.
Suppressing or denying your grief leads to all kinds of emotional distress and even physical health problems. Grief doesn’t like to be ignored, my friends. Allowing yourself the time and space to grieve encourages you to develop new coping skills and find strength in your ability to move forward with your loss in tow.
Challenge your belief that you’ll never recover by honoring your partner’s memory and keeping their spirit alive through a memorial, a special event, or a personal ritual. Instead of thinking you’ll never recover, cultivate fortitude by reframing your perspective and reflecting on how the loss has changed you.
Allow yourself to grow and learn from the experience of loss.
Limiting Belief #4: I’ll Never Find Love Again
If you believe you’ll be alone forever and never find love again, you’ll keep yourself occupied with those thoughts because they eventually become beliefs. When your thought becomes a belief, you feel justified in thinking it.
The thing is, saying you‘ll never find love again is really saying, “I’m not worthy of love and happiness.”
How to turn it into a superpower
Turning the limiting belief “I will never find love again” into a superpower can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some steps you can take to reframe this belief:
- Recognize that this belief isn’t true. While it may be difficult to imagine finding love again after losing your partner, many widows find love and happiness in their lives again. Why not you?
- Focus on self-love and personal growth. Instead of putting all your energy into finding another romantic partner, focus on cultivating self-love and personal growth first. Pursue hobbies, interests, and goals that bring you joy and fulfillment before you try to find fulfillment in someone else.
- Be open to new experiences and people. You can grieve your loss AND try new activities, meet new people, and explore new opportunities. Grieving doesn’t prevent you from trying new experiences. You can do both.
- Practice gratitude. When grief robs you of your optimism and convinces you to focus on what you lost, shift gears and focus your appreciation on what you have. Not everything in your life is doom-and-gloom. What brings a smile to your face? Focus and be grateful for that.
Widow Wrap Up
Look at you making significant progress!
It’s time to turn your limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs. If you find yourself avoiding your grief or believing things that simply aren’t true, think about what’s holding you back. Write down 10 or more limiting beliefs and spend some time reframing them into thoughts that serve you better.
We all have limiting beliefs. You’re not the only one. So, you can stop feeling bad about yourself because your thoughts mean nothing about you as a person. It’s what you do with those thoughts that counts. Will you push through and keep going? Will you use these sneaky brain tricks I’ve described on how widows can overcome limiting beliefs?
Of course you will! Because despite the difficulties of losing your partner, your fortitude and perseverance show that you’re not a quitter. You have too much life left to live.
So, go live it.