The worst part when you lose someone you love?
Other people’s lives glide by and return to normal, leaving you unhinged in a non-stop world.
I know this because, although my miscarriage was 31 years ago, my brother and cousin passed away 28 years ago;
it has only been in the last ten years that I have found emotional safety for my losses and have learned to live with my grief and enjoy life.
Now, having reached a stage where I can embrace my losses and not pretend that I am OK, I want to share the tools, practices, and resources that helped me get through.
I have witnessed too many lives torn apart by grief and know from experience that recovering from grief is complex.
In my case, it was too easy to beat myself up with guilt, anger, and sadness and lose motivation to care even less for myself.
Why I struggled with self-care
Because, like most of the women in my family, self-care—making time to look after myself—wasn’t a thing.
I grew up seeing my mum and elderly aunts and cousins doing the fixing and doing, ensuring that everyone was fed and everything was squeaky clean.
The norm was to cover up our feelings and carry everyone else’s emotional and practical load.
Through osmosis and seeing the way society typecasted Black Women and our place in “Western Culture”, I, like my mother and many of my elder Black aunts and relatives, believed our lives were worthless unless we were busy working, being invisible while caring for everyone else.
Our needs and desires didn’t matter.
And when it came to grief and mourning the loss of loved ones, we did what we always did—push our feelings aside, believe the hype around being “the Strong Black Woman”, and be the rock for everyone else.
There was no room for self-care, no time to think or reflect, and definitely “no time to grieve.”
What changed all of this?
That’s why I felt a sense of comfort and a softening of my heart when my cousin, recognising that I had reached a tipping point after my brother died, introduced me to Iyanla Vanznt’s seminal work.
The affirmations and daily inspirational passages in the book Acts of Faith: Daily |Meditations for People of Colour interrupted the loop of negative thoughts stuck in my head.
Saying the affirmations and reading the daily meditations help to create a gap in my thoughts for a moment of wonder and a “what if this were true” thought to enter my heart.
The more I said the affirmations, the more it motivated me to start to think about caring for myself and what that could look like.
And I want that for you.
Here’s what I want you to know
I want you to know it is OK to get off the merry-go-round of life and tend to your body and heart’s needs for care and support.
I want you to know that everyone grieves differently and for you to do what feels suitable, safe, and nurturing to your soul.
My intention is for you to use the 15 self-care affirmations to help you feel stronger and more steady inside as the world continues to spin without the physical presence of your loved one.
The power of affirmations
I admit the affirmations won’t act like a magic wand, bring your loved one back, stop the world from spinning, or even instantly transform your life.
They are not that powerful.
But these 15 self-care affirmations are powerful enough to:
- Inject a blob of hope and inspire your heart towards healing and recovery.
- Help you start your day with a lighter heart.
- Find a moment of comfort as you ride each wave of grief.
- Motivate self-care and self-compassion.
How to say the affirmations
I like to say my affirmations first thing in the morning while staying in bed and last thing at night.
As I drift off to sleep, I whisper affirmations to myself, which help me fall asleep faster.
So, wherever you decide to say the following phrases, make sure you feel comfortable and follow these steps.
- I invite you to take the next few moments to notice your posture and get a sense of what parts of your body are touching the surface you are resting on.
- Adopt what is known in the mindfulness world: a kind eye and a sense of curiosity about what you notice about your posture.
- If your body feels tense, practice these gentle yoga stretches and breathing exercises in bed to soften, release the aches and stiffness, and help get you back into your body.
- Once you feel more settled in your body, take three full breaths in and out through your nose and check in with your current mental and emotional state.
- What thoughts do you notice you are currently having in your head? Do you feel tired? Anxious? Sad? Relief? Confusion? If you aren’t able to name or label your current thoughts, that’s OK. Just note there is a thought, and get ready to say the affirmations.
- As you read the affirmations, know that you can say them aloud or quietly to yourself with as much feeling and emotion as possible.
For example, you can read them out loud as if speaking to a large assembly, whisper them to yourself, and everything in between!
- After you’ve spoken the Self-Care Affirmations, sit still for a few more moments and notice what feels different about your mood, thoughts, or energy.
- I invite you to note your responses and reactions in your journal, as it helps you capture your insights and makes it easier to flip back and notice any patterns unfolding within.
Here are the 15 self-care affirmations to support you through grief:
- I am learning to take time to care for myself.
- It is OK for me to feel sad and miss (name of your dear loved one.)
- I will get better.
- I am tired of laying awake at night and deserve a good night’s sleep.
- Even though I have lost my dear (name or relationship to you), I know their spirit is still with me.
- When my heart aches and tears roll down my face, I will give myself space to breathe and grieve. And know that’s OK.
- I know that some days I will wake up and smile while thinking about (name or relationship to you), and other days my heart will break.
- It’s hard to believe you are no longer here and hard for me to continue, yet I must trust I will be OK someday.
- I am learning to love myself and trust that the flowers will bloom in the Spring.
- I am learning to lean in and allow others to help me heal and grow.
- Even when I despair, I know I will somehow get through.
- I am learning to love myself enough to pause and seek help.
- It is OK for me to say no to others and yes to myself without feeling guilty or offering an explanation.
- There is nothing wrong with me. I am grieving, and no one can take that away from me.
- This is my life.
I appreciate saying 15 affirmations in one go—especially if you are new to this practice, is challenging.
So, after reading this list, if one affirmation particularly resonates with your heart, then that’s your cue to focus more on the arising thoughts and repeat that affirmation several times during your day, particularly when you feel low, tired, and vulnerable.
Reading the affirmation allows you to acknowledge your mood and ground your energy as your mood shifts, which helps you take the next step from a place of quiet and calmer inner solitude.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences using these or other affirmations.
How do they affect your mood and ability to care for yourself?
I invite you to bookmark this story and practice saying these self-care affirmations for the next seven days. Then, return to this article and drop me a note in the comment box to let me know how you got on.
If you want to explore more affirmations to support your self-care journey, click here and get your free audio meditation and pdf guide to 21 Self-Love Affirmations for Healing.
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