Grief is not something that many of us are experts at dealing with. This is because when it comes, it’s for a real reason. We rarely get time to ‘practice’ our grief in training grounds. This means that often, the difficulties that come when experiencing this most human of emotions and reactions can be confusing at best, and destructive at worst. Grief is a very complicated emotion.
However, grief is not something we can pause our lives for. Time moves on, as do the necessary elements of our daily living. We might have children to care for, or a job to upkeep, or our health to maintain, which is often the most universal thing to care for. This means that in order to ‘get back to normal,’ we can often wish for our grief to be over. And yet, for most people who have or will experience it, dealing with grief is not something you can negotiate with. You don’t just turn it off like a light when you walk out a room you’ve decided you’re done with. Thankfully, you can make things just a little healthier and care for yourself a little more strongly during this time.
‘The Right Way’
Now I’m no expert, but I’ve had my share of traumas and fought my way through the grieving process more than once. I know my method of deflect & ignore isn’t the best approach and I’m working on that. Some of you have experienced grief before would have likely taken issue with the title of this article. Let me explain why you are absolutely right to do so. It’s titled this way because we hope to make the next point clearer – if you are looking for a ‘quick fix’ or a simple guide to helping you through grief, then you will unfortunately have trouble finding that anywhere. There is no ‘correct’ means of overcoming grief. There is no means that can lead you through it in the healthiest manner possible, or can erase it completely, even if it truly hurts. Unfortunately, we run this risk every time we begin to truly care for or love someone, be that a friend, a romantic partner, or another relative such as a child. The saying ‘better loved and lost then never loved at all’ holds true here, completely.
In this seemingly sad statement, there can be some relief. When we know that we don’t have to fulfill a series of tasks or quotas to help us get out of our grief, we can begin to engage with it head on. We begin to allow ourselves to feel it. Ironically, this is the best way of letting it pass over you. Emotions are funny that way, especially emotions as strong as this. When you allow yourself to feel it, then you can start to process it, and then when you start to process it, time can begin its natural healing progress. This means that giving yourself a little slack against ‘the right way’ can be the most worthwhile effort of all.
When suffering from something incredibly difficult to interpret, such as the wrongful death of a loved one, we can often wish to bury our heads in the sand. Well, some of us do. Others can deal with their pain through anger, through running away, or through direct confrontation. However, no matter how you deal with things, it’s important to stay more social with those you can trust. If left alone, there’s no telling how you might behave, because humans act strangely under pressure. It’s important to speak, when you’re ready, to someone who cares. This might be a licensed professional such as a therapist, counselor or even your doctor, or simply a friend you trust completely. Also, listen to what they say to you. If a friend comes to you extremely worried about how you might be handling it, they are not confronting you. They are coming to you out of love, out of a wish to see you at your healthiest. If you can allow them the time to speak, you might learn something valuable here.
Staying communicative is essential. It can really, truly help you get things off your chest. That’s why talking therapy is becoming more and more recognized as a vital first step in any therapeutic practice. Making the effort is important, even if you feel you can’t right now. However, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break. An afternoon off sitting and watching movies in silence with a friend, walking around the local park, spending some time writing in your journal – all of this is important and can make a difference in the long term. This begins the process of healing.
Give Yourself Time
Time heals all things. It’s important to know this. While you may never get over the loss of a loved one completely, you can move on while still paying respect to their memory, thinking of them everyday and loving them. We can often think that our life comes to a pause when something like this happens, but it moves on, always. Spending some time in nature, such as watching a stream or sat down near a river can remind you of this fact. No matter what, the water keeps running.
But don’t force yourself to heal by a certain time. Just give yourself time, and be kind to yourself. You need to simply put down all of your previous self-critical talk and instead give yourself the friendship you deserve. This can make things easier. It can also help you avoid forcing yourself to unhealthy action. For example, some people suffering from this emotion can often bury themselves in work, taking every extra shift or overtime opportunity they can to stifle their emotions. Would you consider this self-care? It depends on the person, and how they function of course, but often we would say that this raises a red flag.
Giving yourself time can take the boot from your own neck. It can help you begin to move through the stages of grief, and to begin the best part of the process, remembering the best of what you experienced with that person, and being grateful for the opportunity to do so.
With this advice, we hope you can better deal with your emotional grief, in a manner most healthy for you.