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Coping with Loss: Why You Don’t Need to Let Go to Move Forward

Do you feel like it’s time to let go of your grief and pain? Have others been telling you that it’s time to just let it all go? Are you feeling guilty about not being able to let go of the hurt? In this important episode, I share my perspective on why letting go isn’t the answer and talk about what I believe will help you heal and move forward.

Deb Sheppard 00:00
Have you had someone tell you, you need to let go, in order to move forward or to create change in your life? Have you thought someone needs to let go, or they can’t move forward? This is a topic I talk about all the time. So absolutely not, you do not need to let go of any sort of challenge you’ve had in your life. So a divorce, a loss of a job, your health, and especially when it comes to someone that has crossed over.

Deb Sheppard 00:29
And Dana, as you know, this is something people say all the time, I just, I just need to let go. I don’t know how to let go. And it hurts my heart because people think that they’re doing something wrong, they’re grieving wrong, their process is wrong, and that they cannot go into a new life or create something new, if they still have that grief with them. And what I prefer helping people with is saying it is part of that process. There’s a lot of reflection, a lot of learning and to let go of a loved one that seems useless on so many levels. So especially when anyone has lost a child, we don’t- I never would like to have anyone tell me ‘Oh, it’s time for you to let go and move on.’

And I hear these stories where people are told that someone in their family someone in their world has said you need to let go and move on to me always have a place in your heart and your soul for that loved one. It might mean that it is how do you heal? How do you shift this energy that it is not the top of your life every single day. And it doesn’t take a calendar to say well, I’ve been going through this for over a year. Now it’s time to change, we all have a different process. The other thing I find is the layers on top of the grief. So if we haven’t worked on our past, those things pile up, and we’re grieving, not just that one situation, but we’re dealing in grieving from multiple circumstances. So it’s how do we shift the energy, the perspective to create the life we desire for us to understand the loss?

Deb Sheppard 02:02
Again, the the ending of anything can be traumatic for some of us, even the loss of your children moving out of the house, you know, you hear about people saying-

Dana 02:11
Which is happening soon. Yeah, again.

Deb Sheppard 02:13
Yes. Is the empty nester. It’s like, well, isn’t this exciting? Shouldn’t this be great? You’ve been in a really bad relationship, you’ve been in a really horrible job. But when we go through transitions, there’s a lot of emotions attached to would have, could have, should have, to look back and think, What if I would have done this? Could there have been something different in the situation?

Deb Sheppard 02:33
I wish I would have done this.

Deb Sheppard 02:35
Yeah. And so we carry these things. And we carry that guilt, when as long as we carry that guilt, it holds us into almost like a feeling of a prison, believing that we can’t escape this because we punish ourselves, or we punish those around us. And is is people know, they listen to our podcast or attend any of our classes. We don’t teach the typical forgiveness, but a lot of times is how do we forgive ourselves to be able to move on? And I think it’s important to understand what are these lessons? What are, what is the insights we can give to change not so much the story, but get more clarity of to, you know, what do we learn from that? How do we look back? How do we do it differently as we move forward. And it can be frustrating for a lot of people because we just- we- we’re a drive through society, I want it to be fixed. I want to have one session, one therapy, one book, you know, one workshop, and then it’s cured. And we have to remember we have not only this lifetime, but I believe lifetimes of that repetitive energy and how we learn from that past.

Dana 03:33
So I know you’re going to dive more into this topic, but as you’re talking about this, and people always say like we see even spiritual teachers saying, Oh, let go. How to let go of your past or how to let go of fear, how to let go of- it’s a term that’s used a lot.

Deb Sheppard 03:50
Way too frequently.

Dana 03:52
So what would you use instead of letting go? ‘Cause I know, it also could pertain to when you talk about forgiveness, and how your teachings are about forgiving yourself and even forgiving yourself for not having relationships with those people because you feel like you can’t or you feel like it’s not beneficial to yourself, to your psyche, to your- Whatever the case is.

Deb Sheppard 04:18
your soul.

Dana 04:19
Yeah your soul. Whatever the case is.

Deb Sheppard 04:20
So you create those boundaries, and then people are like, well, you should forgive them and you should have another relationship with them. You’re like-

Dana 04:26
Why can’t you let go of what they did to you, you know? So letting go is like used in so many different ways. So what would be…

Deb Sheppard 04:33
Way too frequently.

Dana 04:34
Yeah, what was the new philosophy for that?

Deb Sheppard 04:37
I think the letting go means you have to do it a certain way. Like you can’t understand it. You can’t think about it, talk about it. And we will talk about that piece as well. So when you’re processing and talking about it, that means it’s still part of your psyche. It’s still part of you trying to figure out. It will affect your intuition. It’ll affect your opening your heart to having another relationship because Letting go means I haven’t figured this piece out yet, there is guilt when we are told to let it go, and we can’t. So instead of understanding why we keep holding on to that story or that situation, it means it hasn’t been healed for the ability to go, oh, I don’t want to repeat that pattern. Oh, this is the nugget, this is what I was supposed to learn. That means you’re not having to beat it up again and reprocess the story because you don’t have to let go. It just sort of the ability to go, wow, okay, that makes sense. You now have a, an explanation to why you were holding on. The letting go isn’t just Oh, cut those ties be done, be over it. And for some people that can do that. They say, Oh, I can just let go, I can just cut it off. But it’s still in the soul, because they haven’t dug deep. It will show up again, later, they may not see the mirror or the same consistent story, but the story will come back up because they didn’t delve into the understanding and getting the clarity of why those things happen. And of course, in our programs, we teach about your life path, your patterns, what you’re here to learn, who your teachers are, when we as humans, you know, souls in this physical body, we want to know why we had pain.

Deb Sheppard 04:44
We also want to know, you know what it feels like to have joy. But sometimes we don’t give ourselves permission to have joy because that pain is sitting there and healing that is so valuable in order for us to use the word move forward, it doesn’t mean you have to let go to move forward. And understanding that having a good life for yourself and creating good life, there are times that we sabotage our lives because of what happened in the past. We don’t believe that we’re deserving because of something that happened in the past.

Dana 06:42

Deb Sheppard 06:43
And that’s where we keep attracting the same experiences.

Dana 06:47
The same story over and over again. Yeah.

Deb Sheppard 06:49
Not because we didn’t let go because we didn’t get the clarity, the understanding and, and being able to really review it on that cellular level of why we’re here.

Dana 06:58
I would say, you know, through, throughout the last few years with me processing my story and what happened to me as a child and how I repeated the patterns over and over and over again throughout my life until I’m finally realizing I’m choosing the same people, I’m doing the same things. That’s why that’s happening. So it’s just interesting how when we see students going through that, and we see their I don’t want to say stuck. But yes, stuck. They’re so stuck on what their story was, they can’t see past in into the lessons and into the patterns, as much as they… I don’t want to say should because should is a guilt word, but as much as they could, to really, truly move forward. Right?

Deb Sheppard 07:44
What I find in those examples, which is what we do on a regular basis, is taking them away from that particular situation, the one that’s really ingrained. The one that they’re holding on to tightly with their mouth, you know, they they’re their teeth are grinding into it. And they just want to tell the story,

Dana 08:00
You want to say let it go.

Deb Sheppard 08:01
And I don’t, I really don’t ever go there. But what happens is I talk about other stories, so that that story is right there. It’s embedded, it’s almost tattooed in their soul. And like, okay, let’s leave that one alone. Let’s go into some other examples. And so when we go into other stories of their life, they’re able to recognize that pattern. They go, Oh, is that any different how you felt with that original story? And they’re going yeah, I felt abandoned, I felt judged. I felt like I wasn’t valued. I wasn’t heard. And so when they’re able to recognize these patterns, they’re able to go back to that original story. When we go into more current situations and then we’re able to describe, oh, this is what this person did. This is that situation, they can see, perhaps the abandonment, the judgment, they were not heard, perhaps, you know, they were they were judged on so many different levels. When we take the future stories, and we compare it to that original story, they’re able to see more clearly that original story and how they keep creating it over and over.

Deb Sheppard 09:07
They sometimes can’t see it right in the beginning. Like they can’t see well, no, this is this is what happened to me and

Dana 09:13
This is what others are doing to me

Deb Sheppard 09:15
When we’re able to figure out the pattern, they’re able then to dissect that original story and take down those layers and start to heal. And for me, it’s understanding how do you tell that story differently? Because is the story of value? Yeah. What are you learning from it? What? What it is change, you want to take that story and be able to find your power, find your voice, find your own value. And I think so many times just thinking about value is people feel like I need to get my value from my parent, I need to get my value from my boss, I need to get my value from my partner versus understanding that your value comes from many different places. In the loss of a loved one, I think people see people grieving and they want them to let go because it’s hard for them to watch. When someone tells their story over and over and over, we want them to let go because we feel their pain. Instead of asking them to let go, it’s are they willing to dive deep and why that story has more value than them. And you and I’ve talked about this when you tell your story. And if you’ve not heard the story, it is one of our podcasts, Dana’s story.

Deb Sheppard 10:19
And the reason I asked you to tell the story is it doesn’t define you. You’ve never allowed that story to define you. And so when people see you, they just see this really loving, wonderful, outgoing, empowered woman. And when you tell your story, they go, that doesn’t make any sense.

Dana 10:34
Fake it till you make it. No, I’m just kidding.

Deb Sheppard 10:37
No, I think there is a part of that.

Dana 10:38
I think there there was, there was a point in time though, when I met you, I was struggling with not being able to voice what happened to me to a certain extent, because it was held against me several times. Which kind of made me stuff it down and not really get myself to the point where I could allow that healing to take place without the guilt. The guilt of not having those relationships, the guilt of not- I struggled with somebody preaching forgiveness to me.

Deb Sheppard 11:09
over and over and over.

Dana 11:11
Yeah, and or people preaching forgiveness to me, which in my mind, I’m like, you know, I’m fine with forgiveness. It’s not that, you know, forgiveness is a thing that happens every day is like…

Deb Sheppard 11:23
you forgive me all the freaking time when I don’t do stuff.

Dana 11:25
And vice versa. But on those big, big things like child abuse, That’s horrific. Why do we have to forgive? Why do we have to? We can forgive ourselves, we can forgive our soul for choosing that path. And you know, I know there’s freewill. But why do we…

Deb Sheppard 11:45
I think that’s when someone has been violated. So you have a perpetrator, and people want to know, why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? Which creates the limiting belief around their value and being heard and seen. And so what happens is they keep attracting someone that was like the perpetrator, that makes them feel not worthy. And for you, you kept trying to rise above that. But at the same time, people kept coming in poking the bears, you would say, and so you try to navigate by saying, Well, I’m not going to share because it causes more pain. The forgiveness part, again, is you were the victim in these scenarios, and they want you to forgive the perpetrator. It’s like, well, first of all, we don’t agree with having to forgive a perpetrator. Understanding and healing from it and letting that perpetrator figure it out, their responsibility, is not your job. And I think that’s the confusion of people not letting it go as well.

Deb Sheppard 12:40
Why did they do this? How come they weren’t punished, how come they have this other life? Instead of realizing that you have value in that individual, that perpetrator, that person that made you feel that way is determining your value, when you hold on to that story, you’re saying they are right. So forgiving them, or whatever process you need to go through is understanding that no one decides your worth or value. Ever. So letting go is difficult until you understand what power you do have what can you shift to say, Well, is there something that is a value to me in this lesson? and I know for some people, we have our dear friend Julie, you know, she lost her daughter from SUDEP, which is sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. And instead of Julie feeling like the victim, which her grief is big, and it should be, is she decided to change the world by not only becoming an advocate, but starting an organization that helps parents and families and people with epilepsy. Education, seizure response dog, monitor, she chose to say this is what happened to my child and I want to support the world. So being that victim, we can wallow in that and feel like we have no power. Or you can come through and say I’m not going to let go of my loss. But I’m going to do something that’s impactful from my loss. And we understand-

Dana 14:03
Or I’m going to empower myself. If it’s not as deep of a loss as, like Julie’s losing her child, you know if it’s something different in your story,

Deb Sheppard 14:14
But she, she becomes an advocate for her child. Yeah, if she let go of that, would she make an impact for the rest of the world?

Dana 14:22

Deb Sheppard 14:22
So for her, letting go is not the option and I agree with it. You know, we look at the last couple of years of the hashtag me to where women have, and men, have been a victim of these predators. It’s taken a while but now it’s coming forward. We’re not going to take it anymore. So letting go isn’t always the only option. But what are you going to do with that energy? What are you going to do with your pain? Are you going to be a person that transforms only your own life but helps others transform their lives? Make a difference? Or are you going to see your story as, what is it that you came to learn? And for people that don’t believe in reincarnation or we’re here Learn, I understand that, but can you take that, that opportunity with what happened, let’s say, even in a divorce or the loss of a loved one,

Dana 15:08
or in your childhood,

Deb Sheppard 15:10
your childhood, a lot of this is childhood stuff. I mean, the inner child work, of course, but looking at those things and saying, what was it that I learned from this, and for some people, it’s I’m never going to treat somebody like this parent did, or I’m going to parent differently, or some people choose not to have kids because of that experience. Maybe you decide to go into the educational field field or things like that, adopt or be a foster parent or something, advocate. Yes. So all of us have an opportunity from those stories is we don’t have to let go. But to get some clarity, to be able to say, Why was this happening? And what do I want to do with that?

Dana 15:47
And it’s only one part of you.

Deb Sheppard 15:49

Dana 15:50
It’s only one piece of you, there’s so many different aspects to who you are and what you bring.

Deb Sheppard 15:57
It’s sometimes like we get a hook of that story, and what we’re doing is healing that. I keep seeing like a fish hook that gets into our soul. And we keep saying, Do you see where this, you know, scarred me? Do you see where this hook is still in me? And so I think people think, well, if you let go, you won’t feel it anymore. Well, if that was the case, it would be a lot easier. People wouldn’t have therapy, they wouldn’t have workshops, and books, or all those things to try to understand that experience. So [if] letting go is the only answer you will not have success. By going into it more and leaning into it and saying, Okay, where’s my patterns? What do I need to learn from this, what’s going to help me? Is having an opportunity to have a voice on this, will that make the changes I need? When we are holding on to these past stories, there are times that we will sabotage our lives. And we you know, we’ve talked about that to keep attracting but you know, whether it’s food, alcohol, work, other people’s problems, always ignoring what we want to learn or what we should be doing in this life. And that should is a guilt word, but we will distract ourselves. So we don’t have to deal with it. But it’s still there.

Dana 17:06
When you talk about sabotage, do you think that… what would you say if you have somebody that maybe purposely, which that is sabotage, but has maybe done something in their past, themselves- hurt somebody, like I talk about having to close the business that I had for seven years, I had to close it, I couldn’t do it anymore. And I have a lot of guilt around that. Because it was, to me, it was traumatic to have to do that, even though I knew I couldn’t continue, I was making myself sick,

Deb Sheppard 17:36

Dana 17:37
literally. But, you know, there’s guilt, because there was employees that that loved what they did there, you know, there was a community and all the stuff. So how do you like, I think you purposely-some people, and I probably am one of those, you purposely do things because you feel like you’re bad, or like you did something wrong.

Deb Sheppard 18:01
So you deserve to be punished.

Dana 18:02
So you deserve that. Yeah.

Deb Sheppard 18:05
You know that that’s a long topic to kind of go through, but I don’t think you ever went into it feeling you deserve, you really wanted to give back to the community. So it’s twofold, how many individuals in that scenario, were also there to learn their value. And I do know, but from behind the scenes, how many, mainly they’re all women pretty much, how you helped empower them, how you gave them another way of looking, were you there to do it the rest of your life. And for them, that they were thinking in their mind, you know, this is gonna go on forever. They weren’t guaranteed that they were supposed to stay there, they’re gonna move on, all of them, we’re gonna move on, it just happens that you just made the decision earlier, because people are going to move on. But many times when people feel that they are a victim, they will find a way to be the victim instead of having compassion.

Dana 18:57
That’s what I mean. Yes, like, you know, making choices because you’ve done something that brings you guilt or had to do something or something happened, whatever the case is, that brings you guilt that you purposely sabotage.

Deb Sheppard 19:10
Or they think you purposely did it. And I think that’s the key when you see a divorce. And I’ve seen this and in relationships where one person goes, I can’t do anymore. And I was that way in both my previous marriages, like I can’t do this anymore, and they became the victim. It was my fault, even though they weren’t willing to be partners, they weren’t willing to do what I needed. So they believe that I was punishing them or I was making them the victim. So the guilt confirming could be, I’m so sorry, that you feel this way. But they couldn’t see their own part in it. So when someone finally makes the decision to create boundaries, or to say this no longer serves me, people are going to be hurt. And many times what I find is people stay in relationships or jobs so much longer because they don’t want someone else to be in pain and I say that in my book Grieving to Believing where I talk about, you know, that people are not willing to change their relationships or situation because they don’t want others to be in pain. That’s when I believe it’s not about letting go, but honoring the choices that person has made, you know, honoring the fact that it’s, it’s time for them to figure this out.

Deb Sheppard 20:19
And for instance, in the business, all these individuals found a new path. They found a new way. Did they take those years with you, as educational to take them move forward? They probably had a lot of success based on that. But we’re not here to serve people for the rest of their lives. And it’s understanding our part and their part. At what point is it my responsibility for my happiness? And when is it your responsibility for your happiness? And that letting go again, isn’t I’m not letting go of how you feel, I’m letting go of being accountable and responsible for things that you’re not willing to choose to do for you. Does that make sense? Okay, I think it’s hard to allow people to figure it out. I mean, I think if you’re a helicopter parent, or if you’re a person that’s very protective, or you’ve had a really challenging life, you want to make sure someone else doesn’t have pain. And that’s what we can’t let go of certain situations. Instead of looking at it, as you’re letting go, you may be saying, I’m honoring where you are, I believe in you, I know you can do this, you just don’t have to rely on me to do it.

Deb Sheppard 20:27
You have several ways to change the language. I’m honoring where you are. I release control.

Deb Sheppard 21:30
Yeah, I am not responsible for your happiness. What happens if something happens to me before, you know it’s, we can, you know, we can learn to walk this planet on our own.

Dana 21:40
It could be I’m honoring where I’m at.

Deb Sheppard 21:42
Correct, I can’t, I can’t do this anymore. It can be, I appreciate what I’ve learned from this. And there’s so much value that we both benefited, but it’s time for change. And change is hard, because most people want it to be- people want their lives to change, we want to manifest. But we’re very comfortable. In our situation, even if it’s not good, we like to be in a comfortable pattern, because we know how to respond. So that’s why you see people attracting the same thing because they know how to manage it. But when you start realizing that that’s not healthy on so many levels, we have to create change. And if you’ve not been taught how to share or be caring and create boundaries, I think there’s a difference between caring and creating boundaries, than not caring and being done. And that’s where we are hard on ourselves. But when it comes to the loss of a loved one, please never tell anybody, it’s time for them to let go.

Deb Sheppard 22:36
What I will tell everybody, and I’ve said this before, your loved ones don’t want you not to have a life, even though that they’re on the other side, they want you to still have a great life. And the happiness that you bring, actually allows you to communicate with them and see signs from them, which is what we want. We want people to have signs. Yeah, the other part of this is when we are feeling pulled that we have to let go or we’re feeling guilt, it lowers our energy vibration, we will attract those things in our life over and over and over.

Deb Sheppard 23:06
When you learn to heal. And you begin to see things in a different light, you’re able to manifest. And so when people get frustrated with not being able to manifest, its because they are carrying these old belief patterns and they hold on to them. So it’s learning, it’s understanding the problem and having the answer. And having a toolbox. It doesn’t mean these things go away. It just means you have a better toolbox when these patterns arise. And you go through them. Yeah. So some, some things to think about is, if you are in a situation where you’re feeling pain of some sort, then become an advocate begin to do something to change other people’s lives to help you heal. So it means you’re not letting go, you’re just learning. And when you’re with other people, like we do work around suicide, things like that.

Deb Sheppard 23:54
When you’re around other people, you understand that everyone’s struggling, but they still want to have a life. They want to have a purpose and they want to make change, but they don’t want that define them and carry the guilt. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be healing. And we may be grieving, but it really is about the healing process. Everyone has their own time. And for some the grief is, I feel like I can only remember them if I’m in pain. And part of this is remembering you don’t have to be in pain to remember them and to feel them.

Dana 24:24
Well. And when you talk about “should” your words that you always tag as words not to use is: have to, should, because that creates guilt you say. So, when you say, Don’t let anybody tell you that you should be…

Deb Sheppard 24:42
over this. Yeah, yeah, we hear it all the time.

Deb Sheppard 24:44
Being careful of those words.

Deb Sheppard 24:46
Sometimes people lose relationships because they’re saying well, you’re still back from how many years ago in this happen. You should be healed and in a better place. They don’t realize it’s still part of their life. Even if they talk about those things. It doesn’t mean that they’ve done a lot of healing. What it means is, it’s still a part of their life and they don’t want that loved one to be forgotten or the situation. I think it’s a reminder for us too, about what we’ve been through, we all have that story of, this is this is what I’ve been through. And to give us more grace and more patience and things like that, at the same time. I think it’s also looking at your story and saying, what did you learn from it? That’s what we teach in the programs is, okay, what did you learn from that story? What value did you get from that story?

Deb Sheppard 25:29
Give yourself time to heal and don’t put a calendar. I think that’s the big thing people like, Well, it’s been three years. And especially when it’s been a year, I think I had one student that said, Well, your husband’s been gone a year, you should be ready to move on. And you’re like, what did the calendar have to do with my healing process? So if someone or you believe that you should be healed, or should let go, redefine what that looks like for you, and what what your soul needs to have that. Everyone’s grief is unique. So just because someone got divorced doesn’t mean your divorce is similar to somebody else’s, your loss of a loved one is different. Even if you both lost a child or a parent or a spouse, it’s different for everyone, and to give someone the opportunity to find their, their way of healing that as well.

Deb Sheppard 26:16
And I think the big thing, that I think is most difficult, is saying it’s okay for you to heal the past. I think some people don’t believe that they have the right or the ability to be able to heal. Like they need to let everyone know that this was a mistake, or this was wrong. And this was a problem. So I need everyone to know about it. What I’ve told people is put it in a book, write the story, if it helps other people, but does it really help you? Or is that the definition of you? And if you can find other ways to value yourself that that story of the past, whether it’s abuse, neglect, value, a loss of a loved one, a loss of a job, or or a partner, don’t let that be your only identity.

Deb Sheppard 26:59
So if anyone tells you it’s time to let go, go, I’m working on that. It isn’t time. Things like that.

Dana 27:06
What’s the new word?

Deb Sheppard 27:07
What’s the new word? I’m marinating, I’m in the process. Because you know, I like to use marinating versus stuck. So I’m marinating and I’m in the process of my healing. Don’t let anyone define you. And don’t let your story of your past define you.

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