“After giving to others and putting others first for so many years I have lost my sense of self, of who I am.”
This is a sentence that’s common to many women that I speak to on our Rise UP coaching program. But there can be many other reasons that women grieve the loss of themselves.
- Perhaps you have experienced grief, loss or had a catastrophic change in your life and realise that you will never be the same.
- Perhaps you have given out so much that you’re not even sure what you want for yourself any more, let alone how to get it or if you deserve it.
- Perhaps you have walked through that door where things have changed, never to return to how they were.
Suddenly you find yourself grieving for the person that you once were, longing to be the person you once knew.
I recall this in my own journey after the loss of our son.
Yes, my greatest grief that I navigated was the realisation that he was no longer there. That my hopes and dreams for his life we are nothing but a smudge, a dream, a fantasy. That our hopes for his life and future with us as a family had vanished into thin air. Holding onto those dreams was like trying to catch a lingering thread of smoke in my hands, forever just out of my reach and unable to be held.
Everything had changed and I was in free fall. This can’t be real.
But in amongst all of this grief and emotional turmoil, that I found myself also grieving for the loss of myself.
- The happy joy filled woman.
- The enthusiastic excited woman.
- The mother.
- The woman who had trust, faith and hope.
I felt all of these women vanish into thin air, leaving me as an empty shell of my former self, trying to figure out how to piece myself back together.
I recall hearing from family or friends we miss the old you.
Well guess what? I missed me too.
I would have loved nothing more than to step into my old skin and feel a sense of joy or sense of enthusiasm again. To have something to look forward to. To feel together.
Instead I put on my mask each day and tried to keep moving forward through the heaviness, whilst at the same time trying to redefine and find my new self without falling apart. I was lost in the mess of it all.
Losing your sense of self can be the greatest grief of all.
I spent months ruminating on all of the losses. Asking myself what if? Seeking to blame others.
- What if this never happened?
- What if I had changed something and the outcome had been different?
- What if he had been more attentive and listened?
I walked this dusty path in circles getting absolutely nowhere until I felt exhausted.
With the mind’s story wearing thin, I paused, and found myself at a crossroads. Something had to change in my mindset. The questions I asked were not providing solutions and I still felt lost.
It was a change in mindset that had me asking some different what if‘s.
- What if I built a new me? One that included my sadness my grief. One that included the empathy and understanding I had found. One that included the courage that I had developed? The strengths I had developed?
- What if the new me was more whole, more complete, more understanding, more authentic.
- What if the new me had greater wisdom, intuition, clarity and insight?
Losing a sense of self is a hard and lonely inward journey. But it’s also a journey that can find the jewel within.
The YOU that has been waiting to emerge.
Too often we shy away and deny sadness, grief and depleting emotions. But in actual fact when integrated, they create and form authenticity. Creating someone who can stand up, Rise UP and know that they’ve walked path like no other and survived.
Are you seeking to form a new picture for yourself?
Would you like the steps that needed to help you move forward? Throughout my journey I have created the essential steps for women navigating grief called the Rise UP Method.
I offer this in a beautiful 4 day retreat for women and also with my online programs.
Find out more about our Rise UP Women’s retreats here