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Reinvestng Your Emotional Energy


teriw

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I want to share something I read recently that had a profound effect on me. Let me make something really clear -- I had to be ready to accept this and very slowly begin to really do it. You may not be, and that's ok. I think it's a long process, like grief itself. It really makes sense to me now. It helps me understand just why the loneliness that comes with loss is so much greater than general loneliness. Putting this into action in a small way this week, actually made a big difference to me. This is not the same as distraction, which I'm very good at, this is actual investment. It's different. I'm sure many of you are already doing it.

The quote is from the book, "How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies" by Therese A. Rando, Ph.D. I highly recommend the book. It's taken me practically a year to get through it, because it's not easy reading. She's blunt and to the point and has definitely done her homework on grief. If you're trying to understand grief, I think she has some valuable insights.

Reinvesting Your Emotional Energy (page 240)

The emotional energy that you withdraw from your former relationship with your loved one must be reinvested elsewhere so that it once again can return you satisfaction and gratify your needs. Your relationship with your loved one can no longer do this. It is unhealthy for you to have no appropriate investment in anything or anyone. Therefore, the emotional energy that had been used to keep your previous relationship alive must be redirected towards establishing and maintaining rewarding investments in other people, objects, and pursuits. This will not be a replacement for your lost loved one: No one can take his special place. However, your new attachments and investments of emotional energy once again will provide you with the emotional gratification you lost when your loved one died.

This emotional energy need not be reinvested exclusively in another person. It can be reinvested in objects, activities, roles, hopes, beliefs, causes and so forth - anything that you can care about or have an attachment to. It may be tangible (for example, another person, your house, a car) or psychosocial (for example, a relationship, your dream of being a doctor, being president of the Chamber of Commerce). It does not have to be reinvested in the same type of person or thing from which it was withdrawn. For instance, a widow does not have to remarry to reinvest her emotional energy. She can do this by undertaking volunteer work with handicapped children or by going back to school. The only requirement is than she has a place into which to put her emotional energy and involvement.

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This emotional energy need not be reinvested exclusively in another person. It can be reinvested in objects, activities, roles, hopes, beliefs, causes and so forth - anything that you can care about or have an attachment to. It may be tangible (for example, another person, your house, a car) or psychosocial (for example, a relationship, your dream of being a doctor, being president of the Chamber of Commerce). It does not have to be reinvested in the same type of person or thing from which it was withdrawn. For instance, a widow does not have to remarry to reinvest her emotional energy. She can do this by undertaking volunteer work with handicapped children or by going back to school. The only requirement is than she has a place into which to put her emotional energy and involvement.

This is why Randy spends so much time here!!! :wink: Just replace she with he when Ya read it!!

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"This emotional energy need not be reinvested exclusively in another person. It can be reinvested in objects, activities, roles, hopes, beliefs, causes and so forth - anything that you can care about or have an attachment to. It may be tangible (for example, another person, your house, a car) or psychosocial (for example, a relationship, your dream of being a doctor, being president of the Chamber of Commerce). It does not have to be reinvested in the same type of person or thing from which it was withdrawn. For instance, a widow does not have to remarry to reinvest her emotional energy. She can do this by undertaking volunteer work with handicapped children or by going back to school. The only requirement is than she has a place into which to put her emotional energy and involvement."

Wow - Although my best friend doesn't have a Phd, she basically told me the same thing when I was 3 years into my greiving. She asked me, "What is your passion?"

She really got me to thinking and that's when I started school to get my medical assisting degree. It re-directed my energy, my thoughts and my passions from Mike to something else. That's when I started to heal....

I pray everyone can reach that point in their walk where they ask themselves..."What is the one thing in this life I can be passionate about?" And then throw your time, thoughts, energies and love into that passion. It truly will make you feel whole again - not the "same", but whole.

I will always bear the scar of being widowed too soon by a man who left this earth too soon....but it's a wound that has healed. Now - If I just don't pick at the scar....

Hugs,

Shannon

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For me this week, it was as simple as deciding to stop "being in my sorrow," and to instead put my energy into helping my niece, who was moving with her family to their first home. It's not as if I hadn't been helping before, but it was the conscious decision to take my focus off Bill for that time, and put all my energy and focus on someone else I love. As soon as I did that, other things suddenly popped up.An unexpected invitation to lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in a while. A good job interview. Another phone call from a different friend. A desire to read the Bible again. I had energy to tackle some things at home I'd been putting off. I felt "up" for the first time in a while, and had the sense that I can do this. It's no magic answer, I guess I just "got" something important in a deeper way and wanted to share it. Because I was in a serious funk for some time now, and whenever you can get out of a funk, it's a good thing. :)

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whenever you can get out of a funk, it's a good thing

that says it all Teri! Glad you are doing well right now!! Love the new Pic also!!!!

(Nice smile)!!!!!! :):wink:

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Thanks for the post Teri. I hope it will help some of the folks here.

With my dad's loss, my emotional energy went straight into my newly adopted daughter who was born two months after he died, my new corporate job and starting a non profit foundation (LCSC) all at one time! so it did fill that space and give me an outlet for my emotional energy- but I also think it was all a distraction too. It all happened at once, like dominoes, going from one focus to others without a break in between to really feel. I didn't fully begin to grieve my dad's death until 3 years later when life slowed down!

With my mom's death, it has taken me 18 months to truely understand the passage above for the intent it was written for. I couldn't move forward or find other focus' or get distracted with other things...I immediately grieved heavily for not just one, but two parents. I missed my mom in my home, in my life everyday in everyway....for months I was physically incapable of leaving my house or having a day without intense emotions. I can really say I was emotionally disabled. I think we all know what that feels like.

With the therapy these past months, I've been quietly making so much progress...and I really feel like the energy I invest in other things aren't a distraction from my grief or compulsion for me to "fill" a hole...but rather baby steps of progress, accomplishments that I (and my parents) can be proud of.

And I know the difference now- instead of only doing things that occupy my time and keep my mind busy from grieving, it's slowly changing into doing things that make me smile, bring joy and laughter.

It certainly is a process and seems to be ever changing for each of us.

((((hugs)))))

xoxo

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