Friend, are you trying to bounce back to life after experiencing a life-altering loss? I want to share with you these 7 steps of healing after loss. All of them are connected with learning to grieve well and in healthy ways, in order to navigate successfully the major transitions, we face after a loss.
It has been there, sitting in my chest, the whole day. Like a metal ball in my stomach, creating tension and anxiety, the pain I tried to neglect, constantly reminded me of its presence. I had a choice: either to face it, feel it, and let it wash over me, or try to numb it by watching my favorite show or other distracting activity. The problem was that these self-numbing activities brought only temporary relief until the pain surfaced again, even stronger.
Have you been there? It’s time to stop numbing ourselves and start letting go of some things that hinder healthy grieving.
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7 Steps of Healing After Loss
#1 Letting Go of Self-numbing Addictions
When we experience a heavy loss, we become vulnerable to developing self-numbing addictions. In our desire to find relief from the pain, even temporarily, we can develop addictions like overeating, excessive TV watching, drinking, shopping, and so on.
We need to guard our hearts against this by resolving to feel the pain and finding healthy ways to express it. One of the best ways is to pour our hearts to God, not holding anything back.
“Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.” (Psalm 55:1-2)
#2 Letting Go of Unhelpful Thought Patterns
Another step of healing after loss is to identify and let go of unhelpful thought patterns. When we are in pain, we can easily start viewing ourselves as victims of circumstances or people that can lead to hopelessness and despair.
We need to guard ourselves against negative thinking, not forgetting that our feelings of pain don’t tell us always the truth. It is better to remind ourselves constantly of God’s truths, which will keep us grounded and will affect our emotions, too.
“We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)
#3 Letting Go of Toxic People and Critical Influences
When we are in a season of grief and pain, it is critical for our healing to let go of toxic people and critical influences. It is good to surround ourselves with safe persons who are able to empathize and sit together with us in our sorrow.
Let’s not forget that the safest person and the ultimate grief expert is God Himself. We can always come to Him with all our messy emotions and confusing thoughts, knowing that He understands perfectly, feels our pain, and desires to comfort us.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (Psalm 105:4)We can always come to God with all our messy emotions and confusing thoughts, knowing that He understands perfectly, feels our pain, and desires to comfort us. #comfort #grief #healing Click To Tweet
#4 Letting Go of Guilt, Shame, and Blame
It is not unusual after experiencing a huge loss to struggle with intense feelings of guilt, regret, and shame. Or we tend to give somebody the fault and struggle with blame. Either way, staying in guilt or blame will hinder our healing and growth.
What will help us is the choice to accept forgiveness and extend forgiveness. This way we root out the weeds of bitterness and open the way for God’s healing touch.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)Accepting and extending forgiveness roots out the weeds of bitterness and opens the way for God's healing touch. #suffering #healing #forgiveness Click To Tweet
#5 Letting Go of the Past
One of the most difficult things release when we experience a life-altering loss is the past we had before the loss. We cling to this wonderful life we had before the loss and want our life back together with the person or thing we lost.
It is helpful to realize and accept that the past is forever gone. We are not the same anymore and we will never again have the same life we had before the loss. We need to surrender this past so we can start living in the present and move forward with the hope that God is redeeming our loss and still has a good plan for us.
“Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land.” (Jeremiah 50:34)
#6 Letting Go of the Future We Anticipate
When we lose a loved one or another treasured thing, we need to cope with multiple losses. One kind of loss is the future we have anticipated to have with this person or thing, and all the expectations and dreams. Not only the past but the future we envisioned is forever gone with the loss.
A helpful step of healing is to take time to mourn the loss of the anticipated future and then let it go. We need to acknowledge our unmet expectations and surrender them to God, not forgetting that God has buried surprising blessings in them.
“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” (John 16:20)
#7 Letting Go of Our Burdens
The last thing to let go of on the way to healing after loss is our burdens. When we are in a season of grief and pain, so many things can become a burden. Sometimes, even daily life with all its demands and activities can feel like an enormous burden.
The Lord calls us to unburden ourselves in His presence, laying our worries, cares, and burdens at His feet. He longs to give us peace and strength to walk on the road of transition, healing, and growth.
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)
Free to Embrace What Is to Come
When we take these steps towards healing after loss and learn to grieve in healthy ways, we change and grow. We become the best possible versions of ourselves. And finally, we are free to release what it was and embrace fully what is to come.
7 Steps of Healing After Loss Printable
I have prepared a printable of these 7 steps of healing after loss and the accompanying bible verses to help you meditate on them. Click on the image to download it.
More Resources to Help You Find Healing
If you find yourself in a season of grief and pain, I can highly recommend these books. They have helped me tremendously in processing my grief after the loss of my husband. Check them out.
Widowed Walk: Experiencing God After the Loss of a Spouse by Gary Roe
Comfort for the Grieving Spouse’s Heart: Hope and Healing After Losing Your Partner by Gary Roe
A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry L. Sittser
A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life by Jerrry L. Sittser
Which of these steps do you need to take in order to heal after loss? Share in the comments. If you found this post helpful, please share it on social media. Thanks.When we learn to grieve in healthy ways, we change and grow, and we become free to release what it was and embrace fully what is to come. #grief #loss #hope Click To Tweet
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12 Replies to “7 Powerful Steps of Healing After Loss”
What a powerful and wisdom-packed post. Grief can make looking toward the future so difficult, but God can give us new dreams or reshape what we had imagined into something more for His glory.
I haven’t walked through the same loss as you although I struggle with a different grief. Thank you for these words of encouragement.
Peace and grace to you,
Thanks so much, Tammy, for your encouraging and kind words! Yes, you are right: we can trust God to heal our grieving hearts and redeem our losses! His plans are always good and His purpose will prevail. Peace and grace to you too!
Steps 5-7 really resonated with me. It’s so easy to haul around a burden God never intended me to carry. And letting go of the future? I had never considered how clinging to my dreams of the future could slow down my healing. We have a good, good Father who has shown time and again he will replace our dreams with something even better.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anita! I am glad that some of the steps resonated with you. Yes, you are right: God’s plans and purposes and His dreams for us are much better than anything we can imagine.
I’ve dealt with loss before and your list of steps is so true. I especially agree with getting rid of negative or toxic people that can weigh you down. Thank you!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Yes, negative and toxic people can hinder and slow down our healing.
Such an insightful, heartfelt read. The steps of healing after loss you cover show how much work we need to do to accept and recover from a great loss. A lot of soul searching involved in letting go before we can rebuild. Thank you for continuing to encourage and teach others through your journey.
Thanks for your encouragement, Ana! You are right – healing requires time, effort, and intentionality, it is not happening instantly and by itself. We need to be active participants in our healing.
Thank you for listing 7 powerful steps of healing after loss. I especially appreciate the second one about unhelpful thought patterns. So tough to do, but important.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lisa! Yes, getting rid of unhelpful and negative thought patterns is a long process that requires intentionality and discipline, but it is so important for healing.
I lobe your post. Thank you for sharing your heart with us and the healthy steps we can take. I what you said here, “i had a choice: either to face it, feel it, and let it wash over me, or try to numb it by watching my favorite show or other distracting activity. “ I do believe it is all a choice.
Thanks for your kind words, Maree! Yes, it brings us great freedom to know that we are not helpless but always have a choice. With God’s help, we can learn to make better and wiser choices.