It took me nine years to face my grief

scared as hellIt took me NINE years to reach that point of exhaustion where I just said to myself “I really, really, really need to get help to finally let go of the all the pain and drama in my life”. By that time I had lost my dad, moved abroad and lost my first born daughter (in that exact order).

What would happen if I finally took charge of my emotional system? What would need to change? Who or what would I have to let go of in my life? What patterns, behaviours and thoughts would I have to change? What would I have to start doing or who would I have to start being if I got well, finally felt unstuck, started to live my purpose, quit that awful, life draining job? Who would I have to become if I let go of all the drama that defines me?

That’s a lot of scary stuff… I know, that’s why I waited for so long. But I refused to define myself as the bereaved mother, stuck in pain, guilt and sadness forever and ever. There had to be another way!

Only you will know when you have reached that crucial point when changing how you define yourself and your pain and drama is the only sustainable thing you can do in order to move forward. Why don’t you grab the opportunity and start getting clear for the new year NOW by redefining how you want to show up in the world? How you want to feel? What you want to contribute to?

There are a million-and-one techniques out there, I’m teaching ONE of them, but I encourage you to go out and investigate which one rings true to you. Only you know whats best for you.

What are you afraid of?

We all have them, FEARS that keep us at bay, playing small, not daring to live our dreams, and not “rock the boat”.

I grew up in Sweden the country where we actually have a LAW that states the following (taken from Wikipedia):

The Law of Jante is the idea that there is a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities that negatively portrays and criticises individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. … Generally used colloquially as a sociological term to negatively describe an attitude towards individuality and success common in Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries, the term refers to a mentality that de-emphasizes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers.

So basically I was breast fed with this fear of sticking out, shine bright and follow my passion, because what would the others say?! That fear has deep roots and it takes time to release it, but it can be done. As long as you don’t give up on yourself and your dreams you will find a way to release those fears, one by one.

I sometimes sit here in my little office (which I’m so grateful to have, by the way) and feel like no one is appreciating what I’m doing, no one is reading what I’m putting out there and I might as well go back and get a “real” job. Yes, it’s true, and it takes an enormous amount of energy to engage in this self pity (because I know deep within that it’s not true at all). Energy that I could have spent on more fun, life loving activities like recording that corny Christmas video I had in mind for you all… 😉 And I’m tired, oh so tired, of letting those fears and “Law of Jante” run my life. So I’ve committed to start peeling them off, one after the other, starting TODAY.

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to release those energy sucking fears and move on and actually LIVE the rock star life that you want to create? 

Isn’t it a perfect time to start doing that as we are approaching a new year?

Remember, the NUMBER ONE regret of the dying:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.” Author: Bronnie Ware

Don’t be one of those having that regret at the end of your life! 

The world needs you and your special talents, passions and love, so PLEASE go out in the world and share it with us before your time is up!

And if you need help to get started, just give me a shout! I have a bunch of free resources that you could start to check out 🙂

 

So it is Christmas…

IMG_3652We are now two weeks away from Christmas! A lot of us are  busy getting all the Christmas gifts, food shopping and family plans in order for the big holiday!

But for many this Christmas will be the first one celebrated….

  • without their loved one
  • without their beloved pet
  • without their partner (and maybe children) after a separation
  • after getting a devastating diagnosis
  • after losing their job
  • without celebrating with close family and friends after a big move

The empty seat at the dinner table is a massive reminder of who’s not there, and family rituals change due to the departure of a particular family member. Approximately 64’000 will have passed away before end of December 2013 in Switzerland. Around 280 of them will be children under 18 years old. A lot more will have gone through a separation of some kind. Even more will have received devastating news of some kind, but those big changes and reasons to feel lost and in grief are not as easy to spot on the statistical radar.

So I wanted to equip you all with some tools that could come in handy should you meet, or even be one of these grieving persons during the holidays.

What are the things to AVOID saying to a grieving person?

  •  Don’t say “I know how you feel”.

This one is a doozie and it seems to be comforting doesn’t it. Well it isn’t. You see when someone is in a pit of despair they have no idea how they feel so how the heck would you know? Just because your Mum died and their Mum died doesn’t mean it’s similar – this is because every person and every relationship is unique, so the pain is unique – and here’s the thing. This isn’t about you – it’s about them so stop changing the subject to you!

  • Don’t say “Be grateful you had them so long”

This is a well meaning attempt to get you to count your blessings but in truth it’s plain hurtful. No matter how long you had them you’re entitled to want them around now and yes you’re grateful but you still want more and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

  • Don’t say “You’ll find somebody else”

Well this may be true eventually but while I’m in deep pain missing the love of my life desperately it’s also completely irrelevant to how I feel NOW. So if you find yourself tempted to say this to anyone who has lost a partner through death or relationship breakdown; stop. Take a breath and think about someone or something important to you and say to yourself – “if you lost them don’t worry you can get another one”; register how that feels then say something else.

  • Don’t say “They’re in a better place.”

Now according to your belief system this may or may not be true. However it is also irrelevant to the person still here and grieving. It may give a slight comfort if they share that belief, it may cause acute discomfort if they don’t. Either way it’s also changing the subject again – away from their perfectly natural and valid pain and onto the person who isn’t there.

  • Don’t say ” So, he won’t be needing those golf clubs/concert tickets/other stuff”

I’m sure I don’t need to explain why this is a bad one – but mainly it’s because once again it’s about you (and your desire not to see those tickets wasted!) and not about the person in pain.

So what are GOOD and HELPFUL things to say?

The main thing is to be honest and sincere. Sometimes all that’s needed is a hug or a smile. Ask questions, be ready to really listen to the answers and don’t offer solutions – a griever wants to be heard not fixed.

Some helpful starters are:

  • I imagine that you feel like….

Starting a sentence with “I imagine” is unassertive and gives the griever a chance to correct you. For example you say “I imagine you feel like you’ve been hit by a train” and they say well more like my entire world has exploded. This has given them a chance to say quite unconfrontationally how they really feel. Saying “you must feel devastated” will be generating an internal “yah think!!!” even if it’s not said out loud.

  • What happened?

Give them a chance to tell their story – don’t interrupt – questions are about you not them

  • I don’t know what to say…

Is often the best thing to say when there really is nothing to say.

 

Source of above bullet points: blog article “Top five things you should never say to a bereaved person and a few that you should” by Carole Batchelor Certified Grief Recovery Specialist www.griefrecoverymethod.co.uk

 

 

Are you “daring greatly”?

Photo taken by Elin, 4 years oldHi all, I’m right now reading the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. The subtitle is “How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead.” It’s fascinating stuff, and it has made me realise what is happening in the world right now. People are no longer looking for the “corporate” websites, where the text is like reading an annual report and without revealing anything about the people behind the company itself.

A new way of daring to be authentic is on the rise, and I only have to go to my own statistics to prove it. The minute I started to share my own stories and experiences I had a MASSIVE increase in readers! People want to know who you are and if you have what it takes to guide them thought whatever issue you need help with, be it coaching, medical assistance, web design or legal assistance. If you are about to take your PADI Scuba Diving certificate, you would WANT to know that the instructor has some experience to guide you in case something would happen under water, as your life might depend on it. So what problem or issue is it that you can guide your potential client or partner through? And how would you describe that on your website? Are you putting your story out there or are you using the corporate language to attract clients? What works for you? What would “people” say if you were more personal and authentic in presenting your business?

Those questions are some of which I’m currently working on myself and I would love to hear your input on the topic!

 

Once upon a time, when I was a Hotel Receptionist…

Sky City2It was back in the late 90’es and I was fresh out of Hotel Management School (yes, a Swiss one), thought I owned the World, and I landed my first job at the Radisson SAS Sky City Hotel at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm.

I LOVED my job! I loved the languages, the different cultures, finding weird and wonderful solutions, making people smile, connecting and listening to peoples stories. I loved the challenge to resolve anger, disappointment and frustration from guests being turned away due to over bookings, bad meetings and missed flight connections. What I didn’t love were the hours and the salary (actually, the uniform was a bit silly as well)… I remember once, as I was working a weekend shift, a couple walked in to the lobby looking pale as sheets and slightly disoriented. I walked up to them and asked if I could help them at all? The husband then told me that they had just received a phone call, devastating news, and was there any private space where they could sit down and absorbed what had just crushed their hearts? I quickly arranged for them to use one of the conference rooms free of charge and they both started sobbing, probably relieved that someone heard them and could accommodate their needs.

Fast forward a few years when I’m standing outside the Children’s hospital in Zürich, completely disoriented and fuzzyheaded after receiving the terminal diagnosis of our 3-month old daughter. There was no one to comfort us, no room was put in order for us to let the news sink in, no hand to hold or ear to listen to our story. I felt SOOO ALONE! Until this day I ask myself, why, when they knew that they were going to give that diagnosis, did they not assemble a care team, a private room, a priest or at least SOMEONE that could just sit there with us for a while? Why did I find myself standing on a busy street with no instructions on what to do, who to see or what to expect next?

2013-05-26 12-36-06 SGToday I find myself creating that very dream job for myself! It’s like I’ve managed to pull out all the things I loved about being a receptionist and mix it with the caring professional I missed having access to that day at the Children’s Hospital. I work in three different languages, I connect with the most wonderful people, I try my best to find solutions and find relief for people in difficult emotional situations and I can chose my own hours and set my own price tags. Now I can create that space for others, be the one who listens and that has access to a fantastic network of caring professionals that can help where I fall short.

Why am I rambling on about this? Because I want to show you that it’s possible to create your dream job! It takes time, dedication, courage, a lot of savings and financial stress, but it’s so worth it in the long run! Find what makes your heart sing, because others will benefit tremendously!

 

I suck at math!

IMG_2737 When I was in 5th grade it was decided that they would divide the three 5th grade classes in my school into three math groups depending on our abilities in that subject. Hence we were divided into the “fast” group, the “average” group and the “slow” group. I have no idea if they were given those exact names, but that was the general idea behind the three groups. I ended up in the “fast” group as I was one of the fastest in math in my class, and had been since 1st grade.

One day, as we were about to get a math test back, our teacher declared (in a very annoyed tone) that someone in the group had managed to MOVE  THE COMMA THE WRONG WAY THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE TEST! That very test ended up on MY desk! I was the one that had been so utterly stupid to do such a thing that the teacher felt the need to tell the whole group about it! I was 11 and I felt so ashamed.

Since that day, because of WHAT that teacher said, HOW she said it and what she DIDN’T DO to repair the damage, I’ve held this view of myself that I suck at math. My whole life I’ve been avoiding having to calculate “in public”, making sure I can triple check if the answer is correct before I show it to someone. I’ve had to ask colleagues to make fool proof formulas that I could follow whenever I needed to do any form of calculation for my “task list”. I’ve gone to great length so save myself from making such “stupid” mistakes ever again because it was so humiliating that first time.

Now, that was just ONE DAY of my life, and what ONE TEACHER said and yet it has affected my ability to calculate in a negative way! I can’t say it’s been a HUGE loss in my life, but I wanted to use it as an example to show you how the opinion from an authority figure from our childhood, (be it a teacher, a coach, a parent or grandparent…) can do to our presently held beliefs about our abilities. Maybe you are carrying a similar story from your childhood around, and maybe that story has created this limiting belief about your own abilities. And that in turn might be limiting you to aim for your dreams TODAY!

Find that memory, lift it up and have a close look at it. Forgive the person who said or did it so that you can free up that space and energy for better and more fun things in life – then move on! If you need assistance in that procedure, just give me a shout OK? Warm regards, Karin

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

IMG_2886I met a neighbour on the train the other day and she was reading the German version of the book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing” by Bronnie Ware (see the list below).

First it made me think if I would end up having any of these regrets, and sure enough, I must admit to being dangerously close to score #3 and #5. Even with my profession as a Grief Recovery Specialist you would think I’d know better, but I’m only human too 🙂

The list also made me check if the Grief Recovery Method® would address any of these regrets, or more specifically if the Method would be able to help people NOT to come to the end of their lives having one or more of those very regrets. And I most definitely think that it would hugely help to go through the Method. How come?

As I see it, if you know how to deal with the occasional curve ball life throws at you and manage to stay true to yourself, honour your values, beliefs and your feelings and dare following your dreams (at least find out what they are), you will have a far lesser risk of ending up regretting any of those things listed below.

So which ones are YOU in the danger zone of? Have a think about it and then start taking the right ACTION to lessen the risk! 

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

Source:
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

Tina Thörner – PURE INSPIRATION!

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure and privilege to listen to Tina Thörner’s lecture in Zürich. I brought my pink note book and my table neighbours asked me why I had brought it. Well, if I have the opportunity to witness one of our top class motivational speakers I’m surely going to take notes, and I’m so glad iI did!

Here is what I noted down, and hence the lessons, inspiration, motivation and joy I brought with me:

  • Health – both mental and physical health need to be optimal if you want to succeed. Talk to your cells that are actually building your body. (I was too shy to put my hand up and confess when she asked if anyone was talking to their bodies, as so many others of my role models advocate, because I do!).
  • You need to know where you are going, hence draw a map of your goals and what’s important in your life – ALL aspects of your life, not just your professional life.
  • BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
  • The biggest hurdle to get over are our own negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours. What is your outlook on life – positive or negative?
  • What words can I sue to make myself and others prosper, instead of using words that put people down?
  • How can I bring out in others their sense of enthusiasm, joy, pride and sense of belonging?
  • Dare to find new ways, there is ALWAYS a way to reach your goals.
  • Every day is precious, so go out and (dare to) live your dreams!

And that, my friends, was worth bringing the notebook for!

 

I remember… A poem to my Angel daughter on Mother’s Day

I remember the first day I could spot you on your cloud.

You were watering the plants, yellow and purple flowers, and as you poured the water and giggled, a light rain started to fall outside my window.

I was so thrilled to finally have found you again after all the dark clouds of grief had finally passed by and left a clear blue sky for me to enjoy.

We promised to continue growing our family so that you would have siblings, and we kept our promise. You now have a little sister and a little brother, and we love telling them stories about what you and grandpa Dagge are doing up in heaven.

When it snows, we tell stories about how you throw snowballs at each other, and on us as well, because we know how much you love to play!

When the wind blows, we tell stories about how you are drying your angel wings, that got wet when you went for a swim.

When the thunder scares your little brother, we tell stories about how you and the other little angels are having a Bobbycar race up in the sky, with the rainbow acting as the race track.

When the sun shines, we tell stories about how you are playing with a mirror, sending us beams of light and love. Playing with the light on our walls and ceilings, and your siblings are laughing as they try to catch the beam.

When the autumn comes, we tell stories about how you and the fairies are painting all the leaves in the most amazing, radiant colours.

And when the spring finally arrives after a long, dark winter, we tell stories about how you and the fairies arrange for all the flowers, trees and animals to come alive again.

How I love those stories, and how I love keeping you with us through them.

With love,

Mum

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Can broken dreams cause grief?

Broken dreamsA lot of people react when I tell them what I work with, and most of them say “Luckily nothing terrible has happened to me yet.” or “I haven’t lost anyone close to me, but when I do I know who to call.” That’s all fine, of course, it’s not that I wish for anyone to have a traumatic experience so I can have something to do!

But what about the time you had a really bad break up with someone? Maybe that shattered not only your heart, but also the dream of you two being together, starting a family and growing old together?  Or what about the loss of a job, and hence loss of financial security and a dream of a career within that company or field? Or moving abroad (as we expats have done), not only being a big adventure, but also bringing with it the loss of familiarity, language, friends, and (often) the ability to be present at big life events such as weddings, christenings, funerals, or birthdays.

So in what way does the Grief Recovery Method® help you get rid of the pain and frustration that broken dreams brings with it? You might have been trying a number of different things to feel better again, but are tired of trying and “failing” yet another “self help” method. What could possibly be different with this Program?

For me, it’s been the simple fact that I got to take a good look at all my disappointments, losses and broken dreams in my life so far. I’ve looked at the myths I’ve been taught how to deal with loss, all the intellectual comments I’ve heard when in grief, and all the (often unconscious) behaviours I’ve been using in order to avoid facing my feelings triggered by a traumatic event (food, anger, frustration, TV…).

It’s like taking out the weeds by the roots instead of either ignoring them completely (yet knowing perfectly well that they are still there), or swearing about their presence but refusing to do anything about it!  For me, it was a clear and logical step-by-step action plan that finally quietened a majority of my extremely limiting “Why’s?”, “What if’s” and “If only’s”. I say majority, because the job never gets completely done. I would be lying if I said that you would be living happily ever after just by working through this Program.

But your you will have a brand new set of extremely helpful tools to help you handle major life events. You will have taken back the responsibility how you let those events affect you, and therefore you get to decide how to feel and what kind of support you need. I was so good at giving away the power over my own emotions to others, but now I ask myself this question when faced with a situation that triggers all these scary emotions: “To who or what do I give the power to control how I feel in this very moment, and why?”, and that is something I did not do before!

So if you want to know more about me, what the Grief Recovery Method® is, and if it is for you at all(!), please feel free to book a Discovery Session with me either in person or via Skype/Zoom!

Karin Andersson Hagelin

 

 

Much Love, Karin