Hello everybody, welcome to episode 96 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino. I’m glad to have you all here today, friends. We have a deep episode on grieving the loss of a loved one. We have a question that was sent in with a lot of vulnerability from a long-time listener who said the OLD network has saved her life. And I think I speak for everyone on our end when I say thank you and that it’s a privilege to now get to help her out directly. Let’s listen to what’s on her mind and see if we can show her the same support she’s shown us…
QUESTION: “How does one cope with the loss of a loved one? And is there light at the end of the tunnel? My grandmother just passed away and I’m completely torn. She was the only grandparent I had and was an angel on earth. This year has really taken its toll on my mental health and losing my grandmother was the last straw. I’m trying so hard to find my purpose everyday and to have positivity but there has been so much bad news it’s hard to even get up in the morning. I hope this topic will help others as well.”
The Loss of a Loved One
All right, and what a selfless note to end on. You hope this will help others as well. Not easy to say in the face of tragedy.
Needless to say, I’m sure your grandmother would be happy to hear you still keep the hearts of others in mind. And let’s actually start by talking a little more about both your grandmother and other people out there and the role they play in you’re healing.
What do we know about your grandmother? I personally do not know anything about her but I’d bet my bottom dollar that she wouldn’t want you to be in so much pain right now. Based on how close you were with her, I can only assume she was the type of person that would want you to celebrate her and heal as soon as possible. That is, of course, a very tall order and no one here is telling you to rush through the grieving process or try to lie about your feelings. But it’s something to keep in mind.
As for those other people, I want you to think about what you know about other people who have gone through the same thing – the death of a loved one. Two objective truths that you’ve probably seen but are understandably forgetting right now are 1. that these people do eventually heal and things do become a new version of normal and 2. that these people come out learning a lot about themselves.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The same is true for you. Of course there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and if your grandmother just died recently, of course it’s going to seem far away. You will heal from this and you will learn from this. Sometimes the lessons can be difficult to grasp in the midst of such pain, though, so let me remind you of some of the things you’re going to learn from this and see if you start to find yourself picking up on them.
In this time you are currently and will continue to learn about the fragility of life; true priorities and, in turn, false priorities and whether or not you’re honoring them; lack of motivation; and identity change to name a few.
These types of lessons, should you be open to them, are exactly the types of lessons necessary to drive a sense of purpose, because you’re learning the antithesis of purpose. You’re learning about despair, rock bottom, and we’re equipped to understand purpose once we’ve saturated ourselves in these things and been brave enough to not label ourselves as victims in the face of them.
Purpose is a deep sense of meaning, and unless we regularly venture into the depths of life, the uncomfortable places, the less our capacity for meaning is. Blows like these – the death of your grandmother as well as the many atrocities the world is currently facing – are key ingredients to finding purpose because they propel us to feel and act more purposefully. In being exposed to what we have to lose, we rebound with the knowledge of what we really have to gain, and we then make the choice of whether or not we want to work towards it.
You want to work towards it. You want purpose and dutifully seek it. And your grandmother has given you a very helpful tool to help you on that journey. Be thankful for that. You have to use it wisely, though. You have to seek purpose wisely. And right now, I fear that you’re exhausting yourself.
Purpose and Positivity
The search for purpose and positivity tends to become increasingly aggressive the more desperate we are for it, and at the moment, you’re understandably desperate for it. I feel you need to stop trying so hard and stop spinning your wheels, because you’re like a dog chasing its tail right now.
This will be done once you make the best effort you can at lovingly accepting the recent rush of pain that has come with the death of your grandmother and the world at large. If you prioritize being at peace with this, then purpose has the best chance to follow.
I know that may sound difficult, but it definitely does not mean that hurt and peace cannot coexist.
The Ebbs and Flows of Life
Rather, if you can step aside and be an onlooker like you are when seeing others in their periods of grief, you can reaffirm that this will all pass. We’re all bound to go through phases of highs and lows, and the more we can lean into and embrace each of them, the more emotionally healthy we turn out to be.
You’re simply in a low period. You were due for one. We all are. You’ll soon be on a high, then a low again, then a high again – with smatterings of the opposite existing in each one.
This is how the ebbs and flows of life work, and by doing your best to welcome and understand that, purpose is like to find you. Because let’s be honest, purpose tends to plop itself in our laps. It’s not something we chase. It’s not a job or an accomplishment. It’s a feeling. And we only know how to distinguish feelings if we’re willing to explore all of them.
Ok, friends. A lot of big stuff today as I mentioned in the intro. Whether or not you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, I hope this episode was able to resonate and that perhaps you see the bad times in a little bit better light going forward. I’ll leave it at that.
If you have questions of your own, please send them to our email address, advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
We take your questions there, welcome them with open arms, and do our best to help with whatever you’re going through. And you know we’re happy to do it. We’re gonna wrap this one up, friends. Thanks for being here. Be good out there, and stay vigilant of the blessings around you. Until next time.