Episode 13: Removing our Blinders to see our Grief So we can Heal
Putting our grief on the table, being open to new ways of seeing, brings us awareness and furthers healing.
Today we're going to be talking about grief, and how we go about healing it. There are so many different ways. And we all need a different tool. And sometimes we need to express it in different ways. We also are going to talk about the importance of being open to the way other people need to heal and choose to heal. Because there is not one way to do this. When I first was going through the process of figuring out how to live with an addict, how I was supposed to do my own recovery work, and that I had to choose my own healing.
As I was going through that as I was meeting with counselors, I realized, obviously how much work I had to do, how painful everything was, but I felt like as my life was being saved as I was learning these key important awarenesses that my counselor would give me or my energy worker or my my girls in my group. As I was learning these things, I would feel like I am the luckiest person ever to have this kind of healing. And for a minute there, I thought this way of healing was the only way. 12 step, seeing a counselor, and having an energy worker. And as I've grown in my own healing and recovery, of course, that is not the way it is.
For one, everybody doesn't live by Ryan, right? my counselor is my favorite person. He is just so good at what he does. And I'm sure there are so many of you that have your own therapist or your own group that you just think I could not make it without this resource. And so what I learned was that God is not going to leave any of us with nothing. Some of us are going to find people like Ryan. Some of us are going to find energy work. Some of us are going to find groups, or podcasts or books, or meditations, whatever doesn't matter. But he is going to provide a way for you to find healing. And there is not just one way to do that. Now with that I recently I was blown away by this new awareness that I had, that I had this belief or limited understanding something that I had grown up thinking or, or feeling or even judging a way a person was choosing to do something in regards to choices that they were making.
And it was so fascinating to be in a conversation with two different people on Facebook, that led me to this new, open awareness. Now the reason I can even say I learned something new, was because I wasn't understanding something. And I was thinking of my own belief system and trying to process their experience through what I knew. And I was not understanding where they were coming from or why they were doing the things that they were doing. So the only reason that this became something so important to me was because I asked questions. Because I wanted understanding and I was trying to come from a place of I hear you, I want to understand this, I don't Are you open to sharing with me your thoughts or views of why you're doing what you're doing?
And it led to, at least on my part, a beautiful conversation, where I learned a new way of healing. And it was so cool. And it had to do with betrayal. Now this particular woman who posted on Facebook, about her experience of betrayal and how betrayal not only was with things that happen in her life, like abuse and trauma in actual betrayal of a loved one. It was also the betrayal of a community a betrayal of her religious organization. And in her healing she had chosen a new route for her life. And what was happening with me as I was reading that is I wasn't understanding where she was coming from.
That's when I said, Hey, you don't have to answer these questions. But if you want to, this is what I'm confused about. And she shared with me. She shared with me some really neat things. And then at the same time, another person that I'm friends with on Facebook, who I've met in other groups, she offered her opinion, her knowledge of what she knows about betrayal. And she added to it, and I was just blown away. So the original post person said, some things like this, and these are from some of the words that were written in this feed.
So she said, leaving a religious organization was like experiencing the death of a loved one. Now, I've used that before, I have felt that I wrote it in my book. I felt as though with my first husband, that when he did not choose recovery, and I had to make that decision of letting him go, it felt like I was experiencing the death of somebody that was still alive. Because they were no longer the person that I had been married to, for so long. And the direction their life went was completely opposite. So it was as if I didn't even recognize that person, even though he might be standing there, and his face is there. And he somewhat looks the same, It wasn't him. And so it was experiencing this death.
I've also used it in experiencing a death of what you thought you were going to have. The dream that you had, how you thought it was going to be. I had felt that way, I understood that. I understood the losses of losing family members that were on his side of the family, after being in that family for 21 years, and having really good relationships with these people to now experience this death of these relationships. So I've used it, I've understood it, but not in this way. I did not understand that it actually is traumatic for some of our friends to leave a community of faith that they've always been a part of.
As the conversation went on, this other friend that I know that offered her insight, she said some things to me that just made so much sense. She said speaking trauma, abuse, betrayal, brings healing. When you've been lied to you don't know the truth, until you search it out. Victims become free of the perpetrator by understanding why their situation was detrimental, toxic or harmful. And that speaking their truth over and over and over again, is what helps them. A victim of prolonged sexual behavior or abuse understands that she's been cheated on lied to, duped etc. But she may not understand that she was controlled, manipulated, gaslighted, groomed, coerced, abused, emotionally sabotaged, until she shares pieces of her story to another who has been in her shoes.
So I love that. So it was the same with religious feelings with the betrayal of a community of something that she thought she once had. So when our friends around us, that have belonged to us in our different religious capacities, now choose a different path; sometimes those of us still, in those same organizations can think it is odd or strange, or they must be doing something wrong. We can also judge and say something like they left but they still keep coming back to say stuff about it. And this is where my thought was just really since growing up. I didn't understand how somebody leaves or wants to leave their community, but then doesn't want to not talk about it.
So this was profound for me. Because what I realized was, its betrayal. Whatever the reason of they need to move on with their life and change direction, it's all based on a feeling of somewhat of betrayal, at least in this circumstance. So what my one friend that offered her insight to me was that just like someone who has gone through infidelity, and having to heal from those things, they talk it out, they read books, they listen to podcasts, they gain insight, they go to counseling, they talk about it. And as they're healing, they keep talking about it, because they have to figure out and make sense of what they were feeling and why they were feeling it.
And so in those situations, to be able to make sense of what my spouse was doing, I needed to rehash it over and over so I can make sense of it so I could come to terms with it so I could be at peace with it so I could let it go and I could feel and understand what was actually going on in me so I could heal me. I just was so in awe and felt so good about understanding this new form of betrayal that many of my friends have gone through. And I'm sure you are, you know, people that are having similar things in regards to faith and needing to make a change, and whatever it is that they're doing.
To find that these individuals are earnestly trying to figure out their path, they're really striving to do the best thing for themselves and figure it out. And if they've been hurt, or felt betrayed, they have to go through whatever healing it is that they need, in order to make sense of how this is. And so when the original poster said something about it, feeling like a death of something she's always had in her life. Well, hello, that's exactly how I felt in my life. So why would it be any different. This is something that she's grown up with forever. And so to now decide, it wasn't going to be for her, she didn't take lightly.
I've heard from many and I've read things since that day about the tears that people have shed trying to make this decision. And so that's why we can go back to the fact that we don't always know. And the only way we can seek understanding is if we ask the questions. Otherwise, we tend to think that our own belief system, our own judgment, is what I said at the beginning, there is only one way to heal. There's only one Ryan, who can help you through this, there's only 12 step group that can do this. And somehow I was the one who found it. That doesn't make any sense.
It's like that for everybody. So this can give us understanding, it can give us tolerance. And it frees us honestly, of even having those prideful thoughts that we might know something that somebody else doesn't. It was profound to me. And I was so grateful these two women weren't upset with my question that they really wanted to give me some new insight. And they did. I came home, I shared it with my college kids that are here with us during this quarantine, and my husband, and we all felt changed. We felt changed to be able to view people with an open and loving heart with empathy that we all are really striving to do the best we can.
And even though we may not do it like somebody else, or we may not choose the exact path of somebody else, we really are trying to do the right thing for us with the knowledge that we have. And I was just really super grateful that they were able to walk me through that and add to the things that I know. So with our own grief, we have to be able to look at it. We have to figure out and see what it is that we are feeling. Are their fears involved? Is there anger involved? Is there just sadness of loss? Is there an unsure feeling of where to go from here? That's how we start working on the grief, and start uncovering what it is we even actually need to work on so that we can find the right tools to help us through that.
Now, if we are closed, and we only want one perspective, everything that comes our way, we're going to say no to. We're going to say oh, no, that's not me. Oh, no, oh, I don't need that. No, that's not what this is. And we're going to be very quick to not hear either what somebody is sharing with us, or even our counselors or family members or friends. And I've seen this happen. I've done it myself in certain situations. But as I've learned to really, truly grasp the concept of, I only know what I know. That means there's a vast array of things that I don't. So if somebody is sharing something with me, if someone's trying to give me a tool, or offer feedback, or tell me Hey, this is what it looked like when you were doing that or saying that.
If I immediately pop up my walls of pride and say no, that's not what it is. I'm not doing that. That's not me. Then we are missing an opportunity to grow and expand, and to see and feel a new perspective. And that's the only way we're going to be able to fully heal and also grow and change and become more. We don't want to be walking around with blinders on. But that's exactly what it is when we close ourselves off to feedback or new understanding or something that someone's trying to teach us. If we close it off and say no, we will be stuck. We will stay in that stuck place that we've been.
Simple conversations: I have somebody that I'm close to that, really from my view is really having a hard time with some anxiety and things that might have been normal for her to do in the past. And easy and not really anything big in the logical sense have become super scary hard, there's no way; kind of a lot of tears. And at one point I mentioned, I said, Hey, some of the things that you're sharing with me some of the things that I'm noticing is that maybe you're just having some anxiety about this. Maybe there's some fear or something. And she immediately said, No, no, I don't feel that I'm not anxious. I've never been anxious. I've never had anxiety. I said, Okay, well, that's okay. That you never have. I have suffered from it in different times in my life that I never had before. I didn't even know that it wasn't anxiety and tell somebody pointed out to me.
But is it possible that some of these themes and the the nervousness and the fidgeting and the tears and crying over these things that normally used to not feel hard for you could be that maybe you're just over max with something and anxiety is the way that it's showing? And again, she was not opening to hear that. She was not open to a new way of thinking and a possibility that she might have something that's wrong. And the thing is that so hard about that is, I know, for myself, as I've learned to accept my limitations, and the things that have happened to me, after trauma, and experiencing anxiety, and some depression, I understand how that before I didn't want that to happen.
Even experience that I had, I was in the middle of trying to figure out this whole addiction thing, and if I was supposed to be married or not, and so I was right in the thick of it. And I remember that I was working on it relentlessly, every single day. And I was feeling really weighed down, like, oh, my goodness, I could feel the weight. And it felt like depression to me with the spin of anxiety. And I, I was thinking, I was praying in my closet, and I felt this pride come up, like, Oh, my gosh, if I have to go on medication, that's one more thing that he took from me.
I had never been on medication before. I hadn't experienced any of these things. They weren't they were new for me. And I was putting up this wall that somehow if he does, if that happens, it's his fault. Now, what's awesome is that later on probably about a year and a half, after I was divorced, and my life was settled, it was as if the depression showed up, and I wasn't functioning. And I had a couple different people, randomly, one of my friends, I went to visit a group of friends. And one girl just comes out. And she's like, hey, right when I got there, I mean, it was just the craziest thing, right? When I got there, and she comes out, and she's like, hey, I've been on this medication. And this is why and this is what happened. And I had no idea I needed it. But someone told me and I went in, and it has been amazing.
I could have popped up my wall and said, I don't need that. I've never needed anything like that. But what I did instead was on my drive home, I pondered that. I meditated on that. I prayed about that. And I was asking God, Hey, is this sent from you? Was this a prompting that it's something I need to look into? And I felt like it was. So on that the beginning of that next week, I went into a doctor and shared with him what I had been through. And he's like, Oh, yeah, you are really low. I think seratonin, right. I'm not, I don't know everything about it, but you're really low. And all's we're gonna do is get you back level so that you don't feel like you're drowning, and then your body can keep producing what it does. And if not, you can stay on this. And if it if it is situational, then you can go off.
Now for me, I only ended up needing to be on that for all three to four months, so not very long. And I know some of you that's not the case. But I had never grown up with medication. I didn't know that it was okay. And I didn't know that it actually helps people and doesn't just hinder people, because that was the belief I had grwon up with. And so learning this new tool, this new belief, felt like this new awareness, this new understanding. I now could relate to others. And it helped me so much.
Had I not been willing to listen, that wouldn't have happened. The other thing that happened to me with my grief was once everything settled, and I kind of felt like I was in this peaceful state, I noticed that all the work I had done in building my relationship with God and Jesus Christ, everything you have read about in my book about me and the way you share with me your thoughts about me after you read my book, The thoughts I get are, Wow, you really built this relationship with the Savior and with God. You really felt them.
You really know who they are. I felt it and I heard it. They want to have that, too. Right? We all do. Now for me, that's not something that happened overnight. I will worked on that I gained that. And really, it was my own painful gethsemanes, my personal gethsemanes, that brought me to that place where I had nothing else. I had to lay everything at the feet of my Savior as if I was already dying. There was nothing left in me to do on my own. And with that, I could feel him. And as I was in those really hard states, in my life, I noticed that he was there a lot, and angels were there a lot as if people were carrying me around.
So what happened when things were peaceful and on the other side of all that trauma, where life had settled in: I noticed that I didn't feel as close to Him anymore. And I thought, "well, what's happening?" Why don't I feel these things? Why is my faith not as strong? Why do I feel like I'm somehow missing something and I'm no longer filled with all that light that I had? And as I meditated on that, I also spoke with my counselor about that in a session, I also talked with my energy worker about that, and I learned a some really cool things about that.
When I was in all of that grief and I really needed the help, that help was offered to me so easily. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Angels on the other side, people that had passed on like my dad, I felt them. And I felt like I wasn't alone in that process. But after the fact, I now, am back in the real world of regular people living day-to-day lives and not going through trauma, I had to then work on my relationship with God every day. I had to work for my testimony and work for my faith and work for those feelings that I would gain out of the scriptures that came so easily when I had nothing else.
That made so much sense to me that after that was over I still, I don't just get to keep that relationship, I still have to work for it and do my part. Just as a relationship with a family member or a spouce, we both have to do our part. Otherwise, one of us doesn't remember that the relationship is great. And I was falling into that of why is this not as great? It was because I was no longer spending the time to do the work. It's about making sure that we're staying vulnerable, that we are open that our eyes are clear that we're looking outside of ourselves for our healing, and to be able to recognize what God is trying to share with us.
I recently read a post from my Facebook friend, Kara Adams, and I asked her if I could use what she had written. But I thought it was so beautifully stated and so raw and vulnerable. Her writing is so free and open. I love the way she shares what she actually is thinking and feeling and going through not just the parts about something is really good. She shares how she got there. She shares what was hard about getting to the place she did. I'm just gonna read what she wrote.
Letting God into my heart requires a level of vulnerability I previously could rarely tolerate. Consistently allowing God into my heart has therefore always been a struggle. I've hated and shamed myself for not being able to do what I was always taught to do. Healing my emotional and psychological wounds means that I can allow God into my heart more often and more deeply, because I am learning to tolerate and even appreciate new levels of vulnerability. I see now why I've always struggled. I see now how I have been changing and can continue to change in ways that allow me to receive God into my heart and be comfortable in his presence.
He has guided me to many good people, and even some who are not so great, who have helped me slowly break down the walls that have hampered my ability to be vulnerable with anyone. Therapists, friends, romantic relationships, acquaintances, social media influences leaders, teachers, and many others have all contributed to my growth and healing. Many people have helped me understand the differences between safe relationships and unsafe ones. I'm able to untangle my past experiences in such a way that I can now view them in neater and more helpful patterns. I'm learning how to be vulnerable with safe people and learning how to get to know God as one of my safe people.
I'm learning how to get to know myself as a safe person. I'm coming to know Christ as a safe person. Learning how it feels to be truly safe means I can learn how it feels to be truly vulnerable. Both of these things mean that I can truly commune with God and with my Savior. It's so awesome to listen to people be real, tell the real story, tell what's on their heart and mind; because that's exactly what it is. If we are not vulnerable with ourselves, with others, with God, we will not heal and we won't be able to learn, which means we don't grow in progress. So it's important
As we're healing those relationships with God, like what she said, she struggled with different things at the beginning. And as she's worked on those, her relationships have increased in a positive way. And as we do the same thing, as we listen to what is being offered to us, so that we can recognize our grief, we will get to Hill as well. A lot of time as we're grieving, we are overcome with these feelings of feeling stuck. We don't know what to do how to do it. We want to do it, right. If we make this choice over here, we may fall short, something may happen. We sometimes live in this place of waiting for the other shoe to drop. So moving in any direction feels scary.
I was talking to somebody today, and I was talking about some of this kind of stuff. So as we have something that we have to do, we need to move in a direction or we need to change something, we sometimes feel paralyzed for one because there's a lot of fear to our decision; and we don't want to make the wrong choice. We also have some of that grief has to deal with the fact that we don't trust ourselves or other people. And sometimes we're not trusting God either. And so we're trying to have some sort of false control of the situation, by not acting.
Because if we act and do something, it may be the worst thing and it might cause us more pain. And who wants more pain? I don't. I know, I said that to my energy work quite a bit like, I cannot handle anything else. Like this is all I can handle. And she would say, well, you're trying to control the outcome. You're trying to control what God thinks that you need for your personal growth. And I was trying to hang on to the fact that I've already been through enough, I can't do any more. And she had to teach me. And I had to learn. And I had to take it to counseling. But as we look at what is holding us back, why are we not making the decision?
Usually, there's some underlying fears. The fears of the outcome or the fears that we're not going to do it right. So perfectionism, or the fear of what if something bad happens, but I'm telling you, as we look at it, when we stay stuck, and we don't move forward with whatever it is, then our fear really is coming true. In some way, we are not gaining anything. So that means we're staying stuck in the same unhappy, scared, fearful place that we're in. But as we start walking forward, making movement, making choices, then the path is uncovered.
And then we can see Oh, that's actually not as scary. Or Wow, that is scary, but it still feels better than me staying stuck and fearing how scary it is. The other thing is sometimes by not moving forward out of the fear, the fear comes true. The fear that we're actually fearing we're sitting in it. And by moving forward, we're actually getting ourselves out of it. So it's a good way to think about it that when we're stuck, first of all, look at why. Look internally and see what emotions coming up. What are we feeling?
What is going on in us that we feel like, I don't know which direction to go? And I don't know how to take the step. Because all of it feels dark, all of it feels scary and I don't know how to do it. So looking at what the fear is, that way we can get everything on the table, we can look at it and we can say okay, so I have this fear that I'm going to hurt my children by making this decision that somehow my choice is going to impact them in a negative way. So we put the fear on the table, we ponder it, we meditate over it, we take it to God. And now that it's on the table, we can actually see it a little more logically.
If we practice taking our blinders off, we will be given some key things that will help us to be able to move forward. And really, it turns out that we're trying to control either another person's experience, or controlling an outcome. And that really doesn't help us in the end. Because it is a false sense of control. Life is going to happen no matter what; the good stuff, the bad stuff, the hard stuff, everything. And by going through all of those hard times, it gives us a chance to have our own personal gethsemenes like we talked about gives us a chance to turn to God and then feel him lift you up and carry you.
It gives you a chance to see something new and hear a new perspective and have your eyes open to new ways of thinking and new possibilities so that you can grow and learn and so you feel more enlightened, and you feel less stuck. Those are all positive things. The scenario that happened to me with this Facebook, communication, conversation back and forth, was beautiful. It enhanced my life. It felt like enlightenment, that I can understand more people and that betrayal and trauma go far broader than just infidelity and sex addiction. It's huge. And that kind of healing and letting go is imperative in all forms in all cases, and all betrayal, all abuse, all pain, all sadness is valid.
Everybody's pain and experiences are valid, no matter how small or how big someone may think they are. If you're experiencing something, it is important for you, it's big for you. And it's an experience that can change your life for the better if you allow it to. This week, I want you to practice looking at your responses. How do you respond when somebody shares with you, either a new perspective, how do you respond when you read something on Facebook, and it is not your view? Do you respond with your own judgment with your own opinion being the only way?
It's a good thing to become aware of because then we can actually notice what it is we're doing and we can start shifting our thinking to being more empathetic, and compassionate, and realizing that all of us are going through different things. So look at that, pay attention to what you're doing, then start practicing taking your blinders off and saying something like, what if I tried to look at this through another person's eyes? What if what I have always thought or felt is not the only way of thinking? What if they may have some cool insight, or knowledge that I don't have?
By doing that we have less pride, we have less we know everything and we can gather more people in to our influence, and where we also can share the things that we know. it keeps us more vulnerable. It keeps us in a place of low ego, so that we don't think we need to be taught anything anymore. I could have gone into that scenario, and just held my ground or held my tongue and not even asked the questions and just went on my way with my own thinking. Instead, I was vulnerable. I let down pride and ego. And I really wanted understanding. And because I asked for it in that way, these two people offered it to me.
That's so cool, and so great and it changed me. And it made me feel like we can always be learning, we can always be growing; is what I want to do. I always want to enhance what I believe in my own self, and what I can bring to you. It's continuous learning. The reason that's so great is because I've experienced it, even in counseling. My counselor Ryan didn't just learn what he learned, and then give it to me and then we just do the same things over and over. He continually went to classes, continually did his own work, continually met with different counselors to discuss things and his own personal things so that he could stay healed and whatever he deals with. And it gave me all the tools I needed to keep growing.
One day I walked in, and he said, hey, I've been learning with a group of other counselors, this concept called EMDR, which I have explained a little bit in this podcast, but I was wondering if we could try it. And I was like, yeah, sure, totally, you can practice on me. That's awesome. And so we did it. And it was like the best thing I have ever done. I feel like that really put me over the next level in my healing. Well, then later, he said, hey, I've been working on and learning kind of an an extra piece of that, which I call parts work. I know there's a actual real name for it, but I call it parts work. And I want to try that. And I'm like, Yeah, I love trying new things, because I want to keep learning and I want to keep growing.
And again, I was so fascinated. It was like huge and uncovered a few things that we were never able to find in our previous years of working together. And so with him sharing that with me, I got to heal, I got to grow. But if I would have been scared of it or fearful or saying I don't need anything else. This is it. This is good. I feel good enough without saying to myself, is there things in myself that still need to be healed? Are there things that are bothering me still; still causing me anxiety? Or things that are just not quite right yet. By doing that, and recognizing that I still had things coming up for me, I was open to these new concepts and it changed my life.
I get to keep learning and I get to keep sharing. And if we all do that, then we'll be helping those around us instead of hindering people. If I would have come from that conversation and didn't want to listen and didn't want to hear and didn't want to be taught, I could be talking to a completely different conversation to my kids. About I was reading this conversation online. And this is what they are doing. And this is what they think. And I kind of used total pride and ego and my own past old, unconscious beliefs to now impart those beliefs onto my children.
Then they would be like, yeah, that totally makes sense. But instead, I got to actually give them healing concepts, and teach them because I was willing. So that is the quest for this week. Look at things more openly. Look where you are using your pride wall to answer things or believe things. Break down that wall. If you are feeling things like even like the one person I talked about, about saying, hey, you may be suffering from anxiety. That's what it looks like. I can help you figure out what you need.
If you can even look at things like that those little things in yourself and say, You know what, I think this is something I need to look at, then you're going to keep on healing and keep on growing. So let's do that. This week. Let's continue to be bold and vulnerable and open and loving and empathetic to ourselvesand to those around us, and we'll see you next time.