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.”


Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 43 years, is the author of thousands of articles, and 42 books, including 10 grief resources. She is Assistant Editor of the Open to Hope website, a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Alliance of Independent Authors, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. She is well acquainted with grief. In 2007 four family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling) and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and healing. She has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at The Compassionate Friends national conference, Bereaved Parents of the USA national conference, and Zoom grief conferences. Her work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy grandmother, great grandmother, author, and speaker please visit

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