You’re allowed to change with grief.
I don’t know where I learned this concept, but somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that my identity was concrete and that I would be the same person throughout my life. Life would happen, I would have life experiences and I would still be the same person with the same values and ideals. Then my husband died suddenly and everything changed, including me.
Grief has a way of breaking you in a way that nothing else can.
I’m a strong person and I fought grief with all my might and it still fucking broke me. At the time, all I knew is that I was powerless to stop grief from bending me into a new version of myself. I didn’t know what the outcome would be and for the first time in my life, I let go of trying to control the outcomes. One of the biggest lessons of grief.
Fast forward almost 5 years and I find myself in a new relationship and often look in the metaphorical mirror while asking myself “who am I?” Not in the “I don’t know who I am” kind of way, but more in the “holy shit I’ve changed” kind of way.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned, which I hope will help you in your change journey…
Not only is each relationship different, but we are different in each relationship.
Building connections with people is a risk and it feels vulnerable. To say it’s scary can be an understatement when there is past hurt and pain. And if you’re over 40, you’ve had some hurt and pain in relationships. You can allow the past hurt to change you – it can either build a wall or it can teach you that pain is simply a consequence of being human and none of us can avoid that.
Be grateful for that pain.
I’m grateful for grief and how it broke me. I’ve put myself back together in a different way, I’ve let go of parts of me that no longer serve me and gained space to add more of what I want. You can do this too – you can decide which pieces you want to keep and which to discard. You are allowed to change. You are allowed to decided how to change.
Don’t expect everyone to celebrate your change.
Oftentimes people don’t like it when you change as it brings to light the change they need to create in their own lives. They want to hold on to the old version of you because it’s comfortable and they like to be able to predict. Yet, you don’t have to own their discomfort over your change. Celebrate their change so that they can celebrate yours.
Change is hard, but it’s more than worth it.
There’s nothing scarier than staying in the same place holding on with white knuckles to old ideas of yourself. You have nothing to prove by remaining the same. Life is hard and painful. That’s the cost of being a human who has an infinite ability to love. You get to decide how to go through life and I hope more than anything in the world, that you choose to change.