For days, weeks, or even months after losing someone, you may wake up in the morning with an overwhelming sadness. It can feel like a heaviness pushing down on your chest, and it starts before your conscious mind has even kicked in to remind you of what you have lost. It wasn’t just a bad dream.

Deaths of family, friends, and partners can be so devastating that your whole orientation in life feels lost, and the way your brain and body initially react to the trauma may confuse you. There is no incorrect way to respond to loss. Don’t judge yourself.

To help you grieve and heal after a loss, here are three things you should know.

#1 – Grief is a healthy and necessary process

The first thing you need to understand about grief is that you can’t take it away, and you shouldn’t try to. Love lost is painful. It just is. Grief is an essential part of realistic positivity—the mindset where we accept what is and strive for what is possible—as acceptance and acknowledgment of “what is.” Trying to avoid grieving will not work and will only increase and prolong your suffering. Unless you process grief when the loss occurs, your emotions will become stuck in your system—both mind and body. Grief will stay with you as energy in your unconscious, affecting your life until discovering it and processing it out.

Allowing your feelings to wash over you and sitting with them for a while in this accepting and non-judgmental manner is a profound healing method. Though you might imagine the worst when considering what will happen if you allow yourself to feel your feelings—that they will last forever and might even cause you to go right off the deep end— this isn’t the case. Eventually, the feelings will subside, and you will move forward in the grieving process.

#2 – You build resiliency by honoring and replacing what you’ve lost