This is an excerpt from Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss, available from Amazon.
Understanding yourself helps you recover from loss. You may call this self-awareness or “emotional intelligence,” a term coined by Dr. Daniel Goleman. In his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ, Goleman explains the basics of the term. He thinks self-awareness involves recognizing strengths and weaknesses “and seeing yourself in a positive but realistic light.”
Being self-aware helps you avoid pitfalls. Similarly, a lack of self-awareness can lead you straight to them.
Since I was a small child I have been self-aware. One of the most important things I learned about myself is that I need quiet in each day. Quiet helps me understand events, process them, find solutions, consider options, and plan for the future. When I don’t have enough quiet time I lose my logic trail, get confused, and even upset. That’s because I don’t “hear” myself.
According to Goleman, self-awareness has health benefits, and reducing stress is one of them. Self-awareness can prevent you from shaking in the wind like a leaf on a branch. I think self-awareness is one of the strongest building blocks of life. Are you self-aware? Nurturing self-awareness is always worth the effort and the joy. . . .
Quiet is necessary when you’re on a grief journey. You need to spend time alone with an interesting person—you. In the quiet, you are able to hear your thoughts and your soul. But well-meaning visitors may stay too long or insist that you go out. Remember, you are in charge of you and can do what you want. As Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD advises in his article, “The Grieving Person’s Bill of Rights,” you shouldn’t “allow others to push you into activities you are not ready for.”