Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Self-Reliance

Date: 
Monday, January 12, 2015
Posted By: 
Eden Maheras

The widowed community knows a thing or two about self-reliance, both in terms of Emerson’s definition, stating that each individual should follow his or her own instincts and ideas, and in terms of the basic definition - relying on oneself.

My New Year’s Resolution this year is to embrace both definitions of self-reliance. Having been relatively taken-care-of for my whole life (going from relying on my parents, to being taken care of by my late husband, back to being fairly dependent on my parents), I’m thinking that the year in which I turn 35 is high time for me to become a little more self-reliant. I’ve been a follower and a passive participant in my life for too long. It’s time to grow up, follow my instincts, trust my ideas, and make my own decisions.

From home repairs/remodeling to making the call on where my son should go to kindergarten, I’m going to take control. As a widow and a mom, I need to be the driver for myself and my son. Part of that will be the life decisions, part of that will be focusing on my career, part of that will be developing my parenting style. And part of that will be looking at my healing journey. Three years in, I still feel that I have not embraced the concept of “mindful grieving” to the extent I had hoped. In all other areas, I know I will continue to seek and consider the input, opinions and support of others. But this is on me. As someone who did not take to therapy, and would rather walk across burning coals barefoot than talk about feelings, this will be the greatest challenge. I still find it difficult to talk about the past, about JP, without ending up in that raw, painful place. Once I feel the physical sensations of sadness - the tightening throat, tears welling up - I push down the words and thoughts, and try to avoid the pain. I need to come to terms with the fact that having control over my emotions, or the outward manifestations of them at least, is not the same as being in control of my life.

They say there is no timeline for grief, or the healing journey. As with any journey, there will be setbacks and roadblocks along the way. I think that, for me, to be able to move forward toward the level of independence I need to have (whether or not I ever wanted it – let’s be honest, being taken care of is nice), I need to take a step back and, in a sense “let it go,” as the song says. So, my New Year’s Resolution this year is to release the stronghold I have on my emotions (as much as I can), and focus that energy on being in control of other areas. Here’s to a productive year of self-improvement and self-reliance!

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