Regaining Confidence in Life

Losing someone you love can seriously shake your confidence in life. These are the dark days.

For most of us the darkness fades over time and, for a few, the darkness lingers for a long time. Grief is unique to each individual and to the circumstances of the loss. However it does matter whether or not you say “yes” or “no” to life as you live the healing journey.

How can we regain confidence in life? Here are a few things I’ve learned for myself and that others have taught me.

1. Take it one day at a time. A yoga teacher of mine often says, “Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift.” Most of us can cope with a challenge one day at a time. Especially in the early days of our grief journey, this is the one thing that gets you through. Confidence in life and the future will break through, but in the beginning, coping with each day as it comes allows us to “get through it.”

2. Lean on friends. As the song says, “Lean on me when you are not strong. I’ll be your friend…” Reach out and ask for what you need. It may be a shoulder to cry on, or child care so you have a day to yourself, or a “night out” companion just to talk, or anything else you need to help you through your grief journey. Most people want to help, but don’t know how. Friends need you to tell them what they can do. If some friends just don’t “get it,” move on until you find someone who does. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, your friends may need someone to lean on some day, wouldn’t you want to be that person?

3. Share with others how you feel. It’s amazing how just saying the feelings we have out loud softens them, or puts them in perspective, or helps us make a connection. Sometimes we hold back for fear of upsetting others, and they do the same. Talking about feelings can be hard, but it’s also healing. For some, talking with a grief counselor is a start. For others, testing the waters with a family member or friend works.

4. Understand that you can be happy again. To be happy again does not mean you are being unfaithful or disloyal to the person you lost. Your connection to them will always be a part of you.  They loved you, and would want you to be happy. We all deserve to be happy and to seek happiness. It’s just a new, and, perhaps, a different happiness. While immediately after losing a loved one this may seem impossible, your future can be good, and will include happiness again.

5. Find strength and calm in quiet time or meditation. When I meditate I like to use a two syllable word to keep my focus. On the inhale I say the first syllable and on the exhale I say the second syllable. I pick the words to suit what I need that day. (peace-ful, sha-loam, friend-ship, re-lax, re-store, faith-ful, com-passion, prayer-ful). You can also use it to fall asleep at night… rest-ful, love –ing. Being quiet or still can be restorative and provide balance when trying to fill every minute with something to do, to shut out the pain of loss.

Regaining confidence in life can be a slow process, but it can be a forward moving process when we take good care of ourselves. Someone once said, “The world breaks everyone, and afterwards many are stronger at the broken places.”

One day at a time, lean on friends, share what you feel, be happy again, quiet yourself and let the healing take place.

Photo Credit.

25 Comments:

  1. Claire Forsyth said on April 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm ... #

    A wonderful column . . . I think I hear those sounds too: “Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift.” Thanks for the reminder that the only place I will ever find happiness and contentment is today, right now, in this one moment. Yes, a wonderful gift.

  2. Susan Hayden said on April 20, 2010 at 12:30 am ... #

    Everything you say in this article is entirely accurate. Thank you..

  3. Kelsey said on May 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm ... #

    Even though I had recieved an email with this article link in it about Mother’s Day Minus Mom- it had helped me get over the loss of my Dad. It is almost similar- yet so different. We sometimes feel “Why couldn’t it be Mom that died?” those feelings are natural- but you can’t help to feel a bit guilty after thinking that.

  4. yehuda eshel said on December 15, 2011 at 10:35 am ... #

    I cried when reading

    its not a solution

    buts its shows I am not crazy

    and maybe there is a tommorow

    But I have to learn to enjoy today

    Thanks

  5. Rosina said on January 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm ... #

    Thank you so much! I needed to get a little perspective today. I lost my dad 4 years ago and my mom three months ago to cancer. 2011 was filled with many highs and also some of the saddest moments of my life. I held it together so well in caring for my mom, working full time, finishing up a degree, and still making time for friends and family. After my mom’s loss I feel so small, weak, and vulnerable. I feel like every ounce of confidence in me is gone. My assertiveness is missing, I am second guessing everything. thank you for sharing!

  6. lisa said on January 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm ... #

    Rosina…..I feel the same. Its like starting all over again…as if your a child. Security and identity has been and will be changed and altered for the rest of your life. So hard to accept and move on.

  7. Michelle said on August 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm ... #

    I have to tell you this is all good advice. However, I lost my 24 year old son 19 months ago and even my friends don’t want to hear about my feelings. They do not understand my loss even though they are parents. Everybody except for my kids expects me to move on from this. I even had one of my “best friends” tell me not to use this as a crutch. My children and I are very very close, my son was my very best friend at 24 I still saw him and talked to him almost everyday. I don’t understand why people are so ignorant to the fact of when you bury one of your kids, your best friend is gone and you can never see, hear get a big hug from them ever again. I feel very alone. I don’t know anybody that can relate to me. I am doing a life sentence of pain and heartache that I never thought possible, and now the people who wanted to be there for me sooo bad, expect me to be “over” him. I don’t get it. I really feel abandoned by everyone.

  8. Rachael said on August 9, 2012 at 5:31 am ... #

    Dear Michelle, I cant begin to understand what you are going through. But I know someone who is going through the same. I lost my husband last year, so in that respect, she lost her son. Life stopped for both of us, but I had the little kids to take care of, so I has to function, and eventually funtioning became a normality. My mum inlaw on the other hand, lost her best friend, and everyone else kind of expects life to move on, nut I keep on telling them we are all grieving the the same person yes, but our relationship with him was always different depending on who he was dealing with. I cant tell you it will get better one day, but I hope you can one day take joy in knowing that your son is already in the future. Only this time, just as you wanted waited to hold him in yur hands as a baby, will he be waiting to hold his mother’s hand when your journey here finally ends. I pray that God guide you throough this time and fill you with His love and blessings.

  9. Anonymous said on August 12, 2012 at 3:19 am ... #

    No two people grieve in the same manner or intensity. I submit that prolonged grief that disrupts the ability of the mourner to process with the loss to attain normalcy in their lives, may require professional intervention. No standards exist to apprise us in how we are to cope with loss. Sure, the 5 steps are referred to in loss and grief yet it only serves as a guide. Mourners should process the loss by obtaining coping mechanisms, much like combating stress triggers with coping measures to rise above the in lieu of having the situation control you. We should accept the loss as a psrt of our life moving forward not as a detriment of our existence. I believe we live our lives for a purpose not for a person.

  10. Amy said on September 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm ... #

    On August 18th at 5:30AM a coroner showed-up at my house to tell my that my 37 yr old daughter died in the early evening of the 17th. Her sister and I was the last to know, it was all over Facebook. I was “chosen” as the one to take control of the remains, leaving me with all the expense. I have done the cremation, burial of ashes and now headstone with the help of my younger daughter. Everyone has moved on, I am left broken, my confidence shattered. Any sign of my feelings showing and ridicule is the end result. Now I get to wait for the results of a toxicology screen and investigation. I am being harassed by others who want to know all the tiny little details. I am offended by that, this is my private affair not a gossip tip. Some days are worse than others, I breathe, I continue working in my company, I keep putting one foot in front of the other; by the end of the day I am a zombie. I will be carrying your words so that I have something to console me when I have nothing else. Thanks for your beautiful words and kindness, especially to those you do no know.

  11. Tamara said on February 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm ... #

    I lost my dad 7 wks ago after a very short battle with cancer. The last four months have been more difficult than I could have ever imagined. I expected to deal with alot a grief and pain before and after his death. Expecting does not prepare you. I continue to be shocked by how much this impacts my daily life. The one thing that I never would have expected was the blow to my confidence. This is the first article I have read that touches on the subject. Thank you so much for sharing. No one should ever have to deal with loss, but it does help to know that I am not alone.

  12. Sandra said on April 11, 2013 at 8:43 am ... #

    Icryed when I read Michelles comment on the loss of her son. I to lost my son aged thirty, 21 months ago,I

  13. Lesley said on June 16, 2013 at 6:06 am ... #

    I lost my husband 20 months ago. I have grieved cried etc. Still do sometimes. I have a huge network of family and friends to support. In fact i’ve often felt fortunate that my own gregarious personality and genuine love around me has helped me in the process of moving on. However it seems that since organising and celebrating my 60th birthday earlier this year, my moods are getting lower. I find i’m increasingly sensitive to teasing and taking advice. I get stronger irrrational feelings of inadequacy. I don’t find the general banter and chat around me stimulating any more and i’m losing interest in myself and my activities. Not to a great degree but it’s starting to make me generally miserable. My late husband is the one person who would have bolstered up my ego and confidence and i can’t seem to find the coping strategies to find another way. I have just come across this forum and think that just finding an anonymous group to express all this may actually be helping. So thank you.

  14. Thomas & Sharon Baka said on July 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm ... #

    My Son Dan passed two years ago I know how the other Mother’s. And relate to one mother about freinds dont being there. But my faith in Christ He give me the strengh each day He is my freind He will never leave or forsake. I meant freinds not being there. Be praying for you. Love Sharon.

  15. rcak111@gmail.com said on October 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm ... #

    Its been a year after loss of loved one still feeling quite sad please some advice to feel better thank you

  16. Jason said on February 4, 2014 at 11:51 am ... #

    I have lost both parents recently to cancer. Well, four years ago for my father, and eight for my mother. They were in their fifties. I am now forty, and have two beautiful children which will never know them.
    I used to be a very talented artist and can’t even muster the confidence to get back into it again. It is a struggle everyday to even want to get back in to my profession, and get back into the groove. My confidence is the worst it has ever been, and I feel worthless at times. I guess what I am trying to figure out is can I ever get back into the things that I used to love? It has been a while, but I still have not the drive I used to have.

  17. Shawna said on April 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm ... #

    I think the hardest part about my losses is feeling alone in the world. I lost my father and step father the same year when I was a child and as an adult lost my younger brother and Mom within 3 months of each other. I have no other siblings. It’s such an odd and lonely feeling to have no family. The loss of my brother changed me, it’s as if I’ve become cold. Therapy has been the only thing that’s really helped me. It’s difficult to talk to other people who haven’t suffered great loss. People are so caught up in “nothing” problems. I try so hard not to feel disgusted by their pettiness and so I’ve removed myself from so many peoples lives out of fear of offending them should it become obvious. I appreciate the suggestions this site offers but I’m not sure they’re of much help. Time doesn’t heal. The pain I feel from losing my brother feels the same as it did the day I found out he died.

  18. Chris Catalano said on May 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm ... #

    Very well written, and helpful. Thank you very much!

  19. Angela bell said on August 17, 2014 at 5:05 am ... #

    I am desperate for help and terrified of the next tidal wave of grief that I know will come over me. I too feel weak, vulnerable with confidence gone. I pray we all get through this.

  20. marj said on October 3, 2014 at 12:33 am ... #

    my mom died July 31st 2014 the day I gave up religion and God when I held my mother’s ashes in my hand I now know to the extent of who we are we are the universe manifesting as individual people having a human experience I don’t need other people to help me through this I am strong enough alone people make it worse because they want you to move on of course they want you to move on because they don’t want you to hurt I have moved on I do feel empty inside but I remind myself my mom would not want me to suffer the rest of my life

  21. Greg Clark said on November 6, 2014 at 10:25 am ... #

    Hi everyone, My mom passed away March 25,2014, I miss her a lot, I grieve everyday, but I know she`s in a better world, I hope than this one. Life Is mean and so is family, but god will judge them. We must have faith In God , to do what is right. I trust in Him and pray he gives me peace.

  22. jay said on November 11, 2014 at 11:03 pm ... #

    My wife was killed in a car accident 6 most ago.life has continued on in slow motion. I feel like I should try to move on but lack the ability or desire. Reading a few of your posts is helpful. Thank you

  23. sharon said on November 25, 2014 at 1:14 am ... #

    I just feel like I’m a walking dead. An empty shell and I that my faith in God is being tested to the limit. My mom died after heart surgery and I wonder if the end result was death, why bother with the life-saving surgery. She cried out, Lord what is this? and I can’t forget her anguish. It makes me cry. I am thinking of cutting all ties to people and just become a recluse. Is this grief?

  24. Lauren said on December 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm ... #

    Dear Bill,
    Thank you for your kind words about grief and rebuilding one’s confidence. My husband and I lost our twins at 14 weeks, it has been totally devastating. I can feel time helping but just as I think I’ve made it through a certain period something someone says or something I see can slap me in the face and I realise all too suddenly that I’m ten steps back or even close to where I started. One can imagine trying to hide away from pregnant woman and babies, quite impossible. All this after losing my Mom eight years ago. I cry out why?! Why did this have to happen? We were so happy and excited for our lovely twins…
    Some of the comments above really touched me and made me cry. The article is so right about leaning on those around you who can make you feel better and build you up. Move on from those who don’t know how to handle what you’re going through or hurt you because they’re unable to understand devastating loss. Reach out to those you know can help, even if you really feel like you would rather curl up in a ball. Look for sites like this and have some quiet time every day. A personal acknowledgement is important for the person who has passed as well as yourself. That’s what I’ve come to learn.
    Keep the strength all you special people out there. Xx

  25. Liz J said on April 20, 2015 at 5:52 pm ... #

    I lost my mom 4 years ago now. My mom was my best friend. She had hid heart failure for 6 years until she couldn’t hide it anymore. Once we found out and tests, doctors, and operations happened, Mom was only around a little while longer. I was happy that she made it to my wedding, she passed 2 months later. Suddenly time meant for my husband and I to be happy newlyweds turned into me grieving A LOT, dealing with family drama, cleaning out and selling Mom’s house, dealing with a lawyer and a horrible sibling…I felt like a kid being thrown into a world that I didn’t want to know. All of these things took a hit on me…I became so anxious I didn’t want to do a lot of things for fear that only negative would come out of them. I had no idea how much my confidence would be shattered. I have made great strides but it has taken time. I was someone who wanted to do things right all of the time and this was a hard way to learn that things do not go right all of the time or work our how you expected they would have. I am grateful for the support of my husband and in-laws and my puppy (yes) who is at my side whenever I cry. I am still a little bit in the rebuilding stage though I don’t know if that will ever end. I feel like I have some things to work through related to Mom’s loss but it will be ok. I continue to have faith. Reading this article what caught me the most was a line that said something like “They loved you and they want you to be happy”. That made me feel better for some reason. Hang in there. It is hard but things will get better, you will smile again, life will go on and you will learn to enjoy things again with practice and they will forever be by your side and in your heart.

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