Often the ability to move on is a choice we either make or we don’t.
by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can’t prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you’re presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice and the choice can be power. ~ Blaine Lee
Each of us has the power to decide whether or not a hurt, a loss, a change in circumstance is going to keep us down.
Each of us has the power to say, “NO MORE” to someone who is hurting us. Each of us has the power to walk away and look at our inner selves instead of trying to get whatever it is we are trying to get from the outside. It comes down to CHOICE.
Sometimes clients of mine wait for the day when they will wake up and “be over it.” They think it’s the equivalent of being tapped with a magic wand. Presto Chango! Move on! But true moving on is a choice you have to make. One that doesn’t come easily but one you have to affirmatively, cognitively and rationally make.
It is normal and healthy to feel horrible after a loss or an unexpected and unwelcome change. We must do our work which involves crying, being angry, feeling depressed, unenergetic, hazy, forgetful, etc.
It is normal to recycle.
It is normal to “break the rules” of getting better.
What we need to do is to be VIGILANT when we’re recycling and when we are purposely or accidentally breaking the rules of relationship recovery.
One step forward and two steps back is a somewhat “normal” way to move forward. People ask me why, in my book Getting Past Your Breakup, I state that I hate using the word “stages” where grief is concerned. It’s because “stages” connotes a neat crossing over from one to the next, it seems to suggest that grief is a linear process and grief is anything but linear or neat or understandable a lot of the time. Beverley Raphael called the process of grief “phases.” I read this first in Seven Choices by Elizabeth Harper Neeld (which I talk about more below) and then Dr. Raphael’s work became a cornerstone of my own. When you chase recovery, many times one book leads to another and another and another – which is why I include long bibliographies in both my books.
So, grief happens in phases and we usually move back and forth, up and down, skip one, repeat three. And on and on. Rarely do we progress nicely through one stage and then the other. It simply doesn’t work like that. I urge people to think of it in phases where one might revisit any phase more than once for no clear rhyme or reason. Continue reading