Funeral for broken dreams

3 Nov

A lot of what I do, is grief work.  Not that everyone of my clients is experiencing the loss of a loved one, but most are experiencing the loss of loved things.  Grief does not have to come post funerals and burials, it simply comes after a loss.

When you’ve always wanted to be a doctor since you were little, you get to college and take your first biology classes and fail them. You go to lab and feel confused and behind.  You study, attend office hours, tutorials, everything possible but biology just doesn’t click for you.  Do you hold on to that dream? Or do you say, “Maybe, this isn’t for me?”  If you chose the latter, you experience a loss.  Loss of a dream, an ideal.  What did being a doctor mean to you? Was your sense of accomplishment and intelligence wrapped up in having M.D. behind your name? If so, you may experience a temporary loss of identity.  It all boils down to grief work.

As I tell my clients, Failure is an event, never a person. You are not a failure, you have simply failed at this ONE thing.  And that’s ok.  Of course this is met with 1,000,000 reasons why its not-and that is also go.  Denial is an ego defense mechanism.  Our minds do not want us to experience pain, especially the pain of a loss, but we must, and we will become stronger for it.  When you are ready.  One morning you will wake up and say to yourself in at least 51% belief, “Its ok that I’m not a doctor.  I am still intelligent, and I will still be successful.”  You may not say those exact words, but your actions will.  The fact that you’re not what you wanted to be may always hurt, but it won’t always be an incapacitating ache.

Perhaps the most difficult grief is loss of something you only hoped to have.  For example, realizing that after 42 years of life, you will likely never have a good relationship with your mother/father/family.  How does someone become ok with that?  Its tough, I’m not for one second going to say its not, but you must to some extent.  You must say, I am whole without ________, and while it would be nice to have a relationship with mom/dad/family, if it doesn’t I am still whole.  Often when people go looking to rekindle these impaired relationships they feel sure that once its found they will feel differently. “If only I knew my father better I would be a better/smarter/kinder person.” Do you see the immense amount of power you’ve handed over to someone you don’t even know? The power you’ve given someone (or something…people will also often do this with weight “if I were skinnier…I would be more attractive, etc.) over YOUR life.  Nothing outside of you can complete you. You were made whole, and everything necessary to complete the puzzle is within.

Perhaps its time to have a funeral for things gone not-according-to-plan, and begin to make peace with reality.  There is a delicate balance, dreaming is wonderful but you are enough as you are right now.  At some point, you must begin to know that.

Is there anything in your life that you could put in a casket and say a eulogy to? New Years is right around the corner, perfect time for a fresh start if tomorrow is too soon 😉

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