If you’ve ever built an intricate model, you know how disheartening it feels when it crashes to the floor and shatters into a million pieces.
You want to scream, you want to cry, you want to just scrape it all up and throw it away.
More often than not, though, you won’t toss it aside. Why?
Well, you (1) may really have liked that particular creation, (2) have spent a lot of time and effort building it, and (3) know you’re able put it back together.
So, you take a deep breath and calm yourself, gather the pieces, and start putting it back together.
It’s much the same when you fall apart after a loss—such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of health, a natural disaster, or losing your job.
Now, you may think that this sounds pretty simplistic.
But honestly, it all starts with the fact that you have good reasons for being motivated to not leave yourself in shattered pieces. You (1) probably really like feeling whole, (2) put a lot of years and efforts into becoming the person you were before the loss, and (3) are able to put yourself back together!
Putting Yourself Back Together After a Loss
1. Accept that you have fallen apart
Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. The sooner you accept the truth that your loss has shattered you, the sooner you can start rebuilding.
2. Give yourself permission to feel the whole range of emotions
Holding in your pain, sorrow, and anger after a loss will only make it harder to pick up the pieces and put them back together. In today’s culture, too many people are fearful and judgmental of their emotions. But it’s normal and healthy to experience a whole range of feelings after a loss.
3. Sort through the rubble of your life
Pick up the pieces and figure out which ones you’ll need to put together a basic structure of who you are – your core values. Write them down and hang the paper where you can see it. This will keep you focused on what must be done first. Once you’ve got the frame of your life together, you can start building around that.
4. Take your time and go at your own pace
There’s a method to the rebuilding process. If you want to do it right and build something solid, you need to pay careful attention to each step. Don’t let anybody rush you. Be patient and go at your own pace. If you miss an important step, the life you’re rebuilding won’t be sound.
5. Release the pressure regularly
The pressure to get over the loss doesn’t always come from external sources—often it comes from within yourself. Release the pressure by journaling daily. This can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings and give you a new perspective on yourself and your situation.
6. Celebrate your accomplishments
Look back through your journal at times and see how far you’ve come. Be proud of your achievements and celebrate your victories. Every piece you add to the whole is important.
7. Let others help you
Humble yourself and accept encouragement, love, and support from others. Tell them how you feel and allow them to be your anchor while you put yourself back together. Most of all, show gratitude for their presence, compassion, and generosity.
Welcoming Your New Self
Finally, after reconstruction is complete, it’s time to leave the pain behind and find joy in life once again. Of course, you’re not going to be exactly how you were before. After all, you can’t erase the loss. Things are different now—but different isn’t always bad.
In fact, throughout rebuilding, you may have had to come up with imaginative ways of mending some parts of yourself. Yet, while the pattern may be new, it’s still beautiful. Embrace it!