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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.

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

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 first meeting for FREE with me either in person or on Skype!

Karin Andersson Hagelin

Here you can read what others have said after finishing the Grief Recovery Outreach Program with me. 

 

Much Love, Karin

 

Talking to children about loss

Simple DO’s and DON’Ts:

  • DO – Go first. As the adult, you are the leader. 
  • DO – Tell the truth about how you feel. – Telling the truth about your own grief and about how you feel will establish a tone of trust and make your child feel safe in opening up about his or her own feelings.
  • DO – Recognise that grief is emotional, not intellectual and that sad or scared feelings are normal. Avoid the trap of asking your child what is wrong, for he or she will automatically say “Nothing”.
  • DO – Listen with you heart, not your head. Allow all emotions to be expressed without judgement, criticism, or analysis.
  • DO – Remember that each child is unique and has a unique relationship to the loss.
  • DO – Be patient. Don’t force your child to talk. Give your child time. Make sure to plant healthy ideas about talking about feelings.

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  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel scared”. Fear is a common and normal response.
  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel sad”. Sadness is a healthy and normal reaction. Sadness and fear, the most common feelings attached to loss of any kind, are essential to being human.
  • DON’T – Ask your children how they are feeling. Like adults, fearful of being judged, they will automatically say, “I’m fine”, even though they are not.
  • DON’T – Act strong for your children. They will interpret your “non-feeling” as something they are supposed to copy.
  •  DON’T – Compare their lives or situations to others in the world. Comparison always minimizes feelings.
  • DON’T – Make promises that you cannot keep. Instead of saying “Everything’s going to be okay”, say, “We’ll do everything we can to be safe”.
  • DON’T – Forget that your children are very smart. Treat them and their feelings with respect and dignity as you would like to be treated by others.

Stay tuned for the first Course “Helping Children deal with Loss” in Zurich, in spring 2013. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know the dates as I only have four (4) spaces available.