16 Dec Am I Allowed To Feel Relief? Yes!

Defining Relief


Relief is the feeling that comes when something burdensome is removed or reduced.  Relief is the feeling of calmness following a release from anxiety or distress.


Relief Is A Normal Grief Response


Relief is a normal reaction to the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one—and any other type of loss for that matter.  Typically, relief is felt when the relationship involved:


  • Someone who was difficult to get along with.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse or addiction.
  • Mental Illness.
  • Your loved one experienced a long and painful illness. The relief that is felt because he or she is not in pain anymore.
  • Caregiving 24/7. Some people enjoy having their time back to do as they please and for others the adjustment of an empty schedule is difficult.
  • A disability.

Other examples:

  • Feeling relieved because you did not like the job that you just lost. However, at the same time feeling anxiety because now your job is to find another job.
  • Empty nest. Enjoying your newfound freedom and at the same time discovering that the house is too quiet, and your schedule needs to fill up with new adventures.


After The Death Of A Loved One


Feeling relief is not dishonoring the memory of your loved one—again it’s a normal grief response.  The key thing to remember when we are feeling relief is that other family members and friends may not experience a relief response.  This goes back to the fact that each of us grieves differently and on our own personal healing timetable.  Additionally, each person approaches unwanted change and loss with different ways of dealing with stress, perceiving, problem solving and expressing…  And each person has a unique relationship with their deceased loved one.


Permission To Grieve


Give yourself permission to feel relief.  Give yourself permission to grieve in your own way and allow others to do the same.  In the case of relief, some family members and friends may not be ready to acknowledge that someone feels differently then they do—specifically when that something else is a sense of relief.  They may never feel the way that you do—and this is okay.


Avoid The Guilt Trap


Again, guilt is a normal grief reaction.  Beware because guilt usually presents as an irrational or inappropriate guilt.  And inappropriate guilt likes to ride shotgun with relief.  Don’t allow I should have, or I could have feelings—or feeling regret to hold you hostage.  Feeling guilty because you are feeling a sense of relief is inappropriate guilt.  You have nothing to feel guilty about.   Embrace relief and put one foot in front of the other had move forward in your personal healing journey.


Work Towards Acceptance


Acceptance is an ongoing part of the grieving and healing process.


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