Dealing with adversity can be tough, and everyone has their own way of coping with it. But what if you could follow a formula that could help you overcome any adverse experience? This is where the GOLDEN formula comes in. The GOLDEN formula is a powerful tool for navigating difficult times. Each letter represents an important step to follow:
Grieve any losses or setbacks
Observe what has worked in the past
Love and care for ourselves
Determine our purpose and motivations
Enjoy the process of growth and learning
Know our own worth
By following these steps, we can move through even the toughest moments of adversity with resilience and strength and live a Gold Medal Life. In this blog post, we’ll explore the first part of the formula, the G, which stands for Grieve.
The First Step of the GOLDEN Formula
Now, I don’t know where you are on your journey, but if you’re dealing with an adverse experience, this part of the process may be too soon for you. It’s important to note that seeking out a mental health professional can make this part of the process more manageable. But don’t let that stop you from learning this lesson, because it might be something you haven’t heard before, or you may have forgotten about it.
Understanding Grieving: More than Loss of Loved Ones
One thing I wish I knew sooner when it came to healing from adversity was that grieving is for more than just the loss of loved ones. When it comes to being able to live in the moment, we often have to go back in time to release the parts of ourselves that are holding us back.
The frustrating part? We don’t always know there are past parts of ourselves holding us back, or even which areas are. The awesome part? When we allow ourselves to hold space to be curious and look for the tough moments in our lives, we can heal them, release the past, and come back to the present moment.
Going back to these tough parts isn’t regressing you into a past you want no part of. In fact, it’s allowing you freedom from them instead. Going into your past isn’t going to make you stuck there, but if you never heal it, the past will never leave you; because it is stored in the body. Going back is giving ourselves permission to rewrite the story of those situations and change how we perceive them in the current moment.
Healing and Releasing: A Process, Not Willpower
When I first heard of this process, my teacher left out a really important detail. You can’t willpower yourself to just let it go. When you are so attached to something and it doesn’t happen, it can feel impossible to release it from your grips. The feeling is similar to being really upset in a moment and someone saying, “just calm down”. It doesn’t happen, and in many cases, it tightens the grip even more.
In this practice, we aren’t going to simply let go, we are going to heal and release. Grieve And Release: the past that was, plans made for the future that will never be, the parts of ourselves that no longer serve us.
Personal Experience: Grieving the Child-Free Future
This practice came to me a year ago as I was sitting in my therapist’s office. I told her that while I love my kids, I would do anything for them, and really like being a mom, there was a part of me that struggled to attach to them in the current moment. I wanted so desperately to be in the present, but there was this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach keeping me back. We decided to think back to the day I found out I was pregnant.
At 19, I found out I was 5 months pregnant. I was just beginning to win in my snowboarding career when my life abruptly changed. See, I wasn’t supposed to have kids. I was deemed infertile by multiple doctors, so I had already made peace with my childfree/non-birth mom life. However, when the time came to be a mother, I rose to the occasion.
Life in those early years of motherhood was purely survival. I was showing up, being the best mom I can be, but deep down, I longed for the day I could have my freedom again. I think it’s important to note that I had a lot of guilt about feeling that way. I had always wanted to be a mother, and I loved my children more than anything in the world. But at the same time, I missed the life I had before kids, where I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
After learning what my past self wanted, needed, and was feeling I was able to sit with her and tell her how everything ended up working out in my life. How okay we are. How amazing motherhood really is. I was able to make peace with my current level of freedom. I was able to accept my life will never be childfree, but if I keep subconsciously holding on to that, I will miss out on 20 years of seeing my children grow. I will miss out on the good of life now. If I don’t grieve the child free future I will never have, I will be 40 grieving the life I didn’t spend in the moment with my children.
No Judgment: Overcoming Stigmas
When you do this practice please remember there is no judgment. I struggled to go back to this area of motherhood because it’s a taboo subject. Parents should never speak negatively about parenthood. Parents should be grateful. Parents are blessed and how dare I ever feel otherwise. If you allow these stigmas to stop you, you won’t be able to release the pain points of your life.
You may be wondering how this practice can be applied to your life. I hear you, sometimes we are too close to the issue to clearly see the solution. Some other places I have applied this part of the method include:
Breakup or divorce – Grieve the loss of the relationship and the future plans you had together, and release the parts of yourself that were holding you back in the relationship.
Job loss – Grieve the loss of the job and the financial stability it provided, and release any limiting beliefs or negative self-talk that may be hindering your job search.
Health issues – Grieve the loss of your previous health and abilities, and release any negative emotions or self-blame that may be holding you back from taking steps towards better health.
Trauma – Grieve the pain and trauma you experienced, and release any shame or guilt associated with the experience.
Addiction – Grieve the loss of control and the harm caused by addiction, and release any negative self-talk or limiting beliefs that may be hindering recovery.
Now that we have a clear idea on ways this can be applied, let’s dive in.
Below are the steps on how to do this practice for yourself. When doing so, allow yourself to crash into the pain of the past. You may find your whole sense of safety foundation crumbling under you, allow it to happen because what you’ll notice is you’re still here, still standing, still strong.
Practicing Grieving and Releasing
- Close your eyes and feel where in your body you may hold pain or tension.
- Ask yourself what is it telling me, when does it arise, how does it show up?
- Make note and find the point in the past where this is happening.
- Visualize the inner child/person that experienced this and sit with them.
- Ask them questions: how are you really feeling? What are you really wanting? What do you really need?
- As your older, more experienced self answers these questions, share advice for your younger self on how to deal with this experience. Be the adult/support person you needed in that moment.
Give yourself permission to go through the stages of grief as it pertains to your experience: cry, feel, be in that moment. Hold space for what comes up because this is a very important step in healing that part of you. Be proud of yourself for doing this practice and return to it as many times and in as many areas as you need.
The Power of Grieving and Releasing
To close out this practice here is a quote that perfectly sums up the importance of this practice: “You don’t find peace standing in the ruins of what used to be”. -Brianna Wiest
Let’s release those ruins, stand in what is now, and live skillfully, peacefully, and mindfully.
In conclusion, taking the first step in the GOLDEN formula is crucial to overcoming adversity. By allowing ourselves to grieve and release, we can let go of past pain and move forward in the present. Seeking professional help can be a valuable part of this process, and it’s important to remember that grieving isn’t limited to just the loss of loved ones. As you embark on this journey, be gentle and kind to yourself, and don’t let any stigmas or judgments hold you back.
By following the GOLDEN formula and taking this first step, you can begin to live a more fulfilling life. So why wait? Start your journey today and stay tuned for step two, where we’ll explore the O where we learn how to observe what worked in the past to reinvent our life.
Resources for grief:
For those struggling with societal stigmas surrounding grief, there are several resources available. The National Alliance for Grieving Children offers support groups, education, and resources for children and families dealing with grief. The Dougy Center provides support groups and resources for children, young adults, and families dealing with grief. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers support and resources for those dealing with suicidal thoughts, depression, or other mental health issues related to grief. Additionally, seeking therapy or counseling from a licensed professional can be a helpful way to address and work through grief.