Did anyone else grow up thinking that grief was the result of death and death only?
Grief is caused by so much more than just death: divorce, childhood abuse, children leaving home for college, retirement and pet loss are just a few examples of other events that cause heartache.
So many people think that unresolved grief couldn’t possibly be at the root of their heartache, sadness, or lack of enthusiasm for life, when it most likely is.
How can someone be grieving and not know it? Easy!
Our society uses a lot of different words to describe what could simply be grief :
- Feeling “Off”
Society doesn't talk about grief, so when you’re sad you might do what I was taught too, to sweep your feelings under the rug. When you don’t talk about your heartache, people don’t know what you’re going through. When other people don’t talk about their heartache, then everyone assumes that everyone else around them is perfectly fine too.
So let’s talk about grief and what it is shall we?
1. Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss of any kind.
- If you’re sad about a break up then your feelings surrounding it are grief.
- If you’ve lost a job then your feelings surrounding it are grief.
- If you’ve experienced a bankruptcy then your feelings surrounding it are grief.
2. Another definition of grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.
Have you ever moved or changed jobs? Although you might have been thrilled about the new environment, you might also have felt sad about leaving your friends, co-workers, routines and everything else you were used to. Those conflicting emotions is grief.
When my grandpa died I was heartbroken that I wouldn't be able to visit him anymore and at the same time I was glad that he would no longer be in pain. It wasn’t an “either/ or” both feelings were valid even though they were conflicting.
3. Grief is the feeling of reaching out for something that is familiar, only to find that when we need it one more time, it’s no longer there.
Think about your last break up or when someone you know died. Do you remember wishing you could have them back just one more time? When we grieve, we grieve the loss of unmet hopes, dreams and expectations we had about the relationship.
When my last romantic relationship ended I was relieved. I knew that he wasn't the right person for me, but I was also devastated because there were so many things I wish I could have said or done differently. That’s grief too.
By the way, every single feeling of grief is normal and natural.
You wouldn’t know it by watching TV or movies, but being sad when a sad thing happens is what you were meant to do. It’s as normal as the sun rising in the morning. It’s as normal as feeling of joy. The only difference between “positive” and seemingly “negative” feelings is that no one tries to hide, or fix themselves, when they’re happy.
If you take anything away from this blog, please know that grief might be the reason you don’t feel fully present in your relationships, it might be why you have felt “off” since you experienced a change in your life, and it might be why you think there’s something “wrong” with you. I promise, if you are grieving there is a solution, so you can feel like a participant in this world again.
The Grief Recovery Method is a series of actions that lead to recovery from, or completion of loss. And there are so many options for you to choose from! Whether you prefer a Grief Support Group, https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/books, Grief Support 1-on1, an incredible 2 ½ Day Personal Workshop or you want to learn how to help others, we have something that fits your needs and budget.
Learn more about our programs here: Our Programs