This isn’t a post about death. I just had to get that out there right away. It’s a post about grief. Sure, death can lead to grief (for those who are left behind. Those who’ve died generally don’t grieve…), but there are a ton of triggers that can lead to this emotion.
The Grief Recovery Method (a course that helps people to recover from grief) defines Grief as: “Conflicting emotions that follow the ending or change in familiar patterns of behavior.” For once, I feel no need to come up with a definition of my own. I think this one nails it. People will potentially experience grief after any major life change (and the word major is highly subjective). You can grieve the loss of a person (by death) or the breakup of a relationship. You can grieve after moving to a different house, after your kids move out, after a celebrity dies, after losing a job. Some people legitimately grieve after their favorite TV show is cancelled. I’ve actually grieved the loss of chocolate (you may think I’m being funny here, but back in my food deprivation days, before I figured out how to lose weight the easy way, I had this idea that I couldn’t eat foods I loved, like chocolate, and still lose weight. So, I’d swear off chocolate and during those dark days, between the start of my diet and the time the cravings would get me, I’d grieve.)
The emphasis in this definition, for me, is on the word “conflicting”. Just as with any negative emotion, we grieve when we experience a vibrational discord – when we focus on a situation in a way that completely disagrees with how Who We Really Are is looking at it. It usually has to do with the (false) perception of loss. When someone dies, we think they’re gone forever. Our inner being disagrees, knowing that death is not an ending, but merely a transition (again, this post is not about death, so I’ll stop there.) When our children move out, we grieve, thinking that we’ve somehow lost them, or at least lost who they used to be, and perhaps along with that, a little of who WE used to be. Our inner being knows that the only thing that’s ever constant is the fact that everything continues to grow, change and evolve. A stagnant relationship is a horrible relationship. When you think you can’t ever have chocolate again, and envision your future filled with rice cakes, your inner being knows that you’re supposed to enjoy your food and that you CAN have the body you want, and that those two ideas do not have to cancel each other out. It’s the conflict between your thought and what your inner being KNOWS that’s causing your pain.
Everyone is allowed to grieve on their own terms
But just because the emotion of grief is based on a false perception, belief or perspective, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t or can’t grieve when a major life change occurs. Emotions are indicators of vibrational discord; they are useful to us and should never be squashed or ignored. Feeling grief is not the same as getting stuck in it. In fact, NOT allowing certain feelings is what tends to get us stuck in the first place. So, the first rule of grief is that everyone is allowed to grieve on their own terms. This means that no one else can judge how long you should grieve. When you hear statements such as “She should get over it already. She’s been grieving for a year!”, it says more about the person making the statement than the person whom it’s about. Ditto for comments such as “I can’t believe she’s already going out and having fun! It’s only been 6 weeks!” There’s no minimum or maximum amount of allowable grieving time for any occasion, nor is there a list of appropriate tragedies that warrant grief. Your grief over your gerbil running away is just as legitimate (for you) as someone mourning the loss of their uncle Ted. Your feelings are your feelings and no one else can truly judge them, no matter how hard they may try.
Stop feeling bad so that I can feel better, damn it!
When someone we love is grieving or experiencing any kind of strong negative emotion, we tend to feel helpless. We love this person, and we somehow feel responsible for making them feel better. So, we do whatever we can to cheer them up. But this kind of action isn’t about them, at all. It’s about us. We feel bad because they feel bad. And we want to make them feel better so that we can feel better. But our negative feelings have nothing to do with the person that’s grieving, and everything to do with our own inner conflict. We may feel responsible for alleviating the other person’s pain and we think we’re failing at this task. We may be allowing their lower vibration to affect ours, and we blame them for it (you feel bad, therefore I feel bad), giving all of our power away and making the poor, grieving bastard responsible for how we feel. As if they didn’t have enough on their plate. But whether the gestures we make toward the grieving come from a well meaning or blatantly selfish place, they generally do nothing to actually help the other person. We don’t have to allow another person’s negative emotions to affect us. We don’t have to feel guilty for feeling better than them, or for not being able to make them feel better in that moment.
What DO you say to someone who’s grieving?
Anyone who’s ever lost someone, had a major breakup, or had a pet die will tell you that, particularly in the beginning, when they’re wallowing in that deep, dark pit of despair, there is NOTHING that anyone can say that will make it better – not in that moment anyway. There are, however, a few things that can make it worse. Well meaning relatives swarming about the house and bringing over massive amounts of food can feel helpful to some, but completely overwhelming to others. Telling someone that you “know how they feel” can and generally will create a backlash. Grievers almost always feel that no one can possibly understand their pain (this is why group therapy or coaching can be especially helpful in grief counseling). So, what DO you say when someone you know has experienced a loss?
I advise people to be honest. You have no idea what to say or do, so say that. Tell the person that you’re sorry for their loss and that you don’t know what you can do to help, but that you will be there for them. Ask them what you can do and then do it. If they tell you to leave them alone, do that (you can check on them from time to time, but don’t smother them.) If they need someone to cook and clean, help them to organize that. But don’t assume that you know what they need or that the thing that would make you feel better will do the same for them. This isn’t about you finding something, anything to do, just so you can feel helpful. Go feel better on your own and leave them out of it.
What to do if you’re the one who’s grieving
As I already stated, the first rule of grieving is that everyone is allowed to grieve on their own terms. Your feelings are your feelings and they’re legitimate. Our greatest enemy when it comes to overcoming grief doesn’t generally come in the form of other people, however. It’s us. We will clamp down on negative emotions for a whole host of reasons, keeping ourselves from truly healing.
Common reasons people get stuck in grief:
- They don’t want to be a burden on their family, and so they “suck it up”.
- They don’t feel that whatever they’re grieving about is a legitimate reason, and they’re embarrassed.
- They feel guilty for the event that caused the grief, and don’t think they’re entitled to mourn (perhaps they caused the breakup of the relationship, or think it’s their fault the gerbil ran away).
- They feel that as a spiritual person, they shouldn’t be feeling negative emotions anymore, and that doing so somehow constitutes a failure on their part.
- They were brought up to believe that displaying emotions, especially sadness or anything that may lead to crying, is a sign of weakness.
- They feel that they’ve been grieving too long, and need to get over it already.
- They feel that they haven’t been grieving long enough, and won’t allow themselves to start feeling better.
- They feel guilty for feeling better, as though it’s somehow disloyal to the person that left and/or the relationship they had.
- They won’t allow themselves to get angry.
The Power of Anger
I’d like to take a moment to talk about anger. In my view, the way we view anger has caused more damage in our society, in terms of keeping people from feeling empowered, than almost anything else. Emotions such as depression and grief – feelings of complete powerlessness – are at the bottom of what we call the emotional scale. When left to our own devices, meaning when we don’t stop ourselves from feeling the emotions that arise, we will quite naturally move toward the next best feeling and move up the scale on our own until we find our equilibrium again. Unfortunately, due to our social conditioning, that almost never happens. When someone is depressed or grieving, the next best feeling is one of anger and/or rage. But if they’ve been taught to suppress anger, because it’s inappropriate, that person will not allow themselves to get angry. They’ll shut that feeling down again and again, sending themselves right back to depression and powerlessness. This is a prime example of how someone gets stuck in a negative place. If you’d like to read more about anger, check out the article The Power of Anger – Why It’s Ok To Be Angry (if you’re currently grieving, this is a MUST read for you).
You know exactly what you need
Again, your inner being will always guide you to a better feeling place, unless you stop it. We will overanalyze our feelings (“I have to find the origin of this!”), feel guilty about having them in the first place (“I shouldn’t be feeling this way anymore. I’m more enlightened than this.”), place time limits on them (“I should be feeling better by now!”) or squash them altogether (“I can’t be angry/sad/a crying mess. It’ll make my family uncomfortable.”) But deep down, we know what we need. All we really need to do is to give ourselves permission to do it. If you need to cry, cry (even you, men and WASPs). If you need to take a few days and crawl into a hole, do that. If you feel like going dancing, shake that booty. If you need to get drunk, have one on me (figuratively. I don’t do body shots. Anymore.) Want to have sex with younger men or women? Go get your cougar or dirty old man on. If you need to eat a pound of chocolate, bon appétit. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, and if you’re guided to something that brings relief, and it’s not totally destructive, do it, even if it’s embarrassing, or “inappropriate”. Nothing is as important as that you feel good. And NOTHING is worth feeling bad – not perceived social acceptance (who cares what other people think?), not being a burden (your family are not made of paper. They can handle the reigns for a while), and certainly not being perfect (give it up. No one really believes the façade.)
And when you’re ready, reach out to another person. This can be a friend, a relative, a counselor, a grief recovery group or a coach. Despite what you may think, you are not alone and others do understand. Often the simple act of getting some help, of connecting with someone who has no agenda, who will listen without judging and who is there to help you, already creates a major shift. And if you’re the person who the grieving person has reached out to, don’t try to “do” anything to help. Just listen. Just be there. Just know that they will be alright, that they will find their way. Because they will.
Heartfelt! Grief is nothing to be ashamed of. It should be treated the right by getting the required counselling from the experts of this field. I know an online counselling platform, Calming Streams Counselling, where you’re listened to with empathy, comforted with love and guided towards positivism. Do check it out!
I love the part where you mentioned that the feelings of grief should never be squashed or ignored. We have lost our older brother to drug abuse last year and his death is still affecting everyone in the family. Although I am in no rush to move on from his death, I think that going to grief counseling sessions can help us process our emotions.
What does it mean to attract a partner or spouse who eventually dies? (not from old age/natural causes- but suicide, terminal illness/disease)
In the case of old age, what does it mean when one partner lives long enough to see their loved one die? What does it mean to be the last one to transition? Why don’t old, married couples die together- what is the point of this last bit of grief?
All below stories are true. Which one is direct I will not say, but they are all real.
(please don’t put situations or my name in a blog, you can use the core of the question if you really wanted to, anonymously or reworded as your own.)
Situation A) man was married long enough to have children with his wife. The wife has post-natal depression after the last child and kills herself.
The husband comes home to find his wife dead.
What did he do to attract this? What is the purpose? (this person has never been happy since)
Did the children attract losing a mother?
Who attracted it?
Why is she dead?
The person dies of terminal illness. They are with the person long enough to fall in love, only to watch them get sick and die.
What is the point of the universe matching them with a person that will “leave” them and cause great pain?
Situation C You are the dying person. How do you get off the frequency of death?
Why do enlightened people get sick and die?
D- A woman gives birth to a stillborn baby. What was the point of that? Why does the universe do this?
Well, you pose some interesting questions, and I may use them as a basis for a blog post later. The problem is that I can’t tell you exactly why these people manifested what they did, because I don’t know what their actual experience of it was.
But, I’ll give you some theory. The thing to remember is that death is not some kind of failure. It’s a transition, a part of life, like going through puberty. You can’t see it as a personal sign of failure if someone dies on you. But, when you experience another’s death, HOW you experience it is a manifestation of yours.
The man didn’t do anything to attract this, not in the sense of “what did he do to deserve this hell?”. The way he experienced her death would be indicative of his own issues with death. Why would he attract a partner that transitioned right after having kids with him? There is a larger intention there that is playing out, not just his, but that of the children. This may not become at all clear until many years have passed, but whatever this intention was, it’s clear that the mother was not a match to it. If she hadn’t transitioned, she would’ve left another way. There’s a lot of opportunity in situations like this – opportunity to find forgiveness, to make peace with all kinds of fears. The harshest of conditions provide the biggest opportunities. But again, this often doesn’t become at all apparent until after the fact.
What is the point of love? Do you think love is wasted if the person doesn’t stick around? Why would the Universe bring you someone just to take them away in any way (break up, death, etc.)? Because the Universe thinks that love is worth it. And it doesn’t see the breakup or death as a loss. We do that. Nothing went wrong there. First of all, this person still has access to his love. All relationships are eternal – love never dies. Second, he can have as much love in his life as he wants. And each one can actually be greater than the last.
Situation C: It’s not so much about getting off the frequency of death (death doesn’t have a frequency, it’s just a release), as it is about finding a better feeling perspective. And many terminal patients do just that, quite naturally. A visible change comes over them, and they make peace with death and their entire lives. Not all, of course, but many. Death is a way of manifesting the next logical step. When being in the non-physical is best possible way to get your next manifestation, then death occurs.
How we manifest our death is a very personal thing. Often, like in Jerry Hick’s case, people manifest a death that allows others to ask deep questions. I’m convinced Jerry died of cancer partly because it would cause many of Abe’s followers to ask these tough questions. How could someone so enlightened get cancer? But it was the path of least resistance for him. Cancer was a big subject for him. He pushed against it more than he had ever realized. The process of his death allowed him to see so much more about himself. And Esther, too. And it brought all their followers into that conversation as well.
D – Again, the way she experiences that event is what it’s all about for her. I’ll go into that one more when I do a post about abortion (just getting my courage up for that one…)
Thanks for the viewpoints in the blog. Although all the points are equally valid, the one resonated most with me was “Everyone is allowed to grieve on their own terms.”
We lost our child sometime ago and weren’t able to “snap out” of it as some friends and others may have expected. I reflect on some of these thoughts in my eBook “a child lost in flight”
Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. There’s no schedule for recovering from the death of a child – it’s a journey unique to everyone who experiences it and it will take you as long as it takes. It will also change you forever. There is no going back to “normal” after such an event. “Normal” no longer exists in the form it used to. All you can do is move forward at whatever pace is right for you, even if that means standing still for a while.
(I’m going to have to be anon from now on.)
Thank you for this blog. It took a long time to be calm and not in pain to write a reply. This brought up more emotional than any other post. It’s fantastic that you pointed out that grieving does not belong solely to losing someone or someanimal to death. (animal isn’t a something, it’s more than a thing)
I personally grieve many things from a job, loss of relationship, pre-death (it often feels like everyone I care about is dead-hard to explain) and it weighs as heavy in my heart as having someone die.
It doesn’t feel good to say the person is there in spirit etc. Because you can’t make love to spirit, hold hands with spirit, go out with spirit etc a physical loss in this lifetime can’t be talked away like that.
You also can’t walk your spirit dog or hug your runaway cat.
It’s good to have other types of grief like loss of someone still living validated because that’s often dismissed in society.
I remember once being told years ago that being sad over my runaway cat wasn’t a very good reason to be sad, in fact it was stupid.
Well that’s like saying don’t be sad your friend is dead or feels dead to you. It’s good to get open and actually be allowed to be sad and not counted as insane to grieve.
Great post. A very personal topic for many.
I’m glad this resonated so deeply with you.
No one can ever judge your emotions. They are yours and yours alone and they are valid, no matter what. But the time will come, in your grieving process, where you’ll just know that you’re done. You want to feel better. And that’s when those explanations of spirit come in handy. Not before. Before you’re at this point, they’ll just annoy you.
HI Melody, wow, what a post! I can imagine you there downloading your value to the keyboard like a frenzied maniac!
Everything you’ve said is so bang on… well not sure about the ‘dirty “old” man” …. hmm, I’ve pondered that with my inside voice and modified it a bit! 😉
In any even, I am absolutely no stranger to grief. I’ve sure as heck had my share of it and it ain’t pretty.
I’m a person who needs to let steam out by crying and hiding away for a while.
I fully agree with you that people need their own time and have to deal with grief in their own way. It can be a long or short haul and nobody is wrong just because they do the things they do.
I had never thought about the fact that people might subconsciously help to try to make themselves feel better. I guess that can be true on some levels.
I have come to grips a long time ago that there is often nothing you can say to make the person heal instantly. You can be an ear though and let them know you’re there.
Thanks for the great and desperately needed post.
LOL. Yeah, that’s usually how it happens. I get into the zone and start “downloading”. This post REALLY wanted to come out. I was getting bombarded with questions and signs for about a week until I finally wrote the damn thing. That baby wanted to be born… 🙂
Huge hugs to you and thanks for stopping by!
Very true, the grieving process is a very strange one. My motto has always been this- What do you say to someone who is grieving? Nothing, listen instead. Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you agree. It’s amazing how those simple words can help (not just when someone’s grieving, but when someone’s feeling negative emotion of any kind…)
I love your posts they are so enlightening. Grieving is a part of life but anything in excess is bad for you. One could get wrapped up in any feeling, this is why it is so important to have stability and practice self control. It helps you be in control of feeling the emotions, expressing them healthily and letting them pass.
Welcome to Deliberate Receiving! And thanks so much for your kind words. The biggest fallacy we were ever taught is that expressing emotions is not acceptable. In many circles it’s not even acceptable to be too happy – it’s seen as naive and immature… LOL. Gotta love it. 🙂
Whew, that was a book…………sometimes just being there will help someone grieving; you don’t have to get too hung up on what to say, just say your sorry.
Everybody handles grief in their own way and I would say just be available for them.
Yeah, Yeah, Bill. I know I’m wordy. 😉
I’m glad you agree. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Melody. About 6 years ago, my wife & I experienced a devastating loss. Within a few months, I had gotten a new job in a new city only to be laid off eight weeks later. Over the course of the next year, we seemed to go through one pitfall after another. This eventually led me to a point of no return where I read Tony Robbins’ “Unlimited Power” for the first time and I began changing my entire life and my approach.
But through all of those ups and (mostly) downs in those years, something happened to me emotionally. I sort-of shut down. I didn’t really mean to. But in dealing with all that, I never let myself grieve. I was so determined not to get depressed that I held everything in and kept myself busy. To this day, I don’t give myself permission to grieve when something bad happens. I know this sounds silly and I actually have TRIED, but I won’t cry. Now, I’ll hear a baby song my kids no longer sing and tear up like a baby myself, but I can’t bring myself to shed a tear for anything else. Maybe it’ll all catch up with me someday. 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your story here. I think a lot of men share your sentiments – they won’t allow themselves to feel the bad feelings. Perhaps because they see it as a weakness (and they have to be the strong one for the sake of the family), or because they were conditioned not to show such emotions. It’s easier to let yourself feel these feelings and cry when it comes to something “unimportant” like your kids’ old songs, but when it comes to the really big and scary stuff, you may be afraid that if you crack that shell, there will be no way back.
Crying is simply a way to release energy. It’s by no means the only way. Breathing, yawning, even vomiting are physical ways to release energy. The point is not to cry, it’s to shift your energy. The resistance will come out some way, don’t you worry. So I wouldn’t focus on the crying, but rather on allowing yourself to get in touch with those emotions. The key is to realize that you’re feeling the emotions anyway. But by not acknowledging them, you’re not going to get rid of them. If you want to feel truly better, you have to open that door and let them out. But trust me on this, coming from someone who has released countless fears – the fear of what’s behind that door is ALWAYS completely out of proportion. Once you open it and see what’s there, you will always end up wondering what the big deal was. Oh yeah, and it will catch up with you. If you don’t deal with your resistance, it will just get bigger until it gets your attention. Resistance is something that stands in the way of what you really want, though, so this is a GOOD thing. Just wanted to point that out… 🙂
About two weeks ago – a family friend of our passed away unexpectedly – at the young age of 44.
It was challenging for us – the grief we were feeling. That’s nothing, I’m sure, though – to what her husband and two young children were going through. And while it all makes me appreciate life even more – I also want you to know that what you have shared here – it’s a gift.
As I read this – I think about how I, as a friend, can support this family, who we know so well – in their grief.
Anyway, thank you for what you have written here – and know that it has landed upon my heart…
Thank you so much for your wonderful words. I’m so glad that this post was able to help a bit in this difficult time. If there’s anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here.
Grieving is one of the most important processes our inner being has created to experience ourrelves and our humaness. I wouldn´t perceive it as a discord to who I really am, it tells me quite well about who I am, and that I´m alive. To perceive it as an abberation to who I really am would deprive me of it´s veritableness. This is one point I can´t really approve of what is taught about reality. I also don´t feel comfortable with the concept of the vibrational ladder, as it assumes that there is a hit list of emotional states, one “better” than the other, one following the other ascendent. Do we experience it this way?
I wouldn´t say that feeling depressed, which I perceive as something different than grieving, is good to feel; I don´t know, depression, for example, can feel quite destructive, as you can get into emotional states which are extremely painful and can cause you to destroy yourself without recall, very dehumanizing. I guess this happens in severe cases due to a lack of essential nutrient for the brain, and isn´t designed as part of a healing process. But generally I would say, whatever happens, even a depression, is there to foster you inner healing.
To feel your grief is essential for the healing process, which I perceive as more than to detect and conclude preferences (“sifting through contrast” sounds as life being just a selection process, neccessary to get rid off the unwanted). It´s a feeling, it´s an energy moving through my body, and as I said before, still a good feeling, as feeling pain isn´t undesireable per se.
Imagine a life without grieving, how would you feel about the loss/separation of someone close? Probably good, because you would align quite rapid with your souls perspective, which tells you that there is no loss/seperation? No, as you so wrote so empathetic about, you would prefer to feel your pain first, and do what supports you in moving through the thing, no matter how long it may take.
So it´s more than just a vibrational discord to overcome, from the perspective of your life it´s an experience you don´t want to miss.
I do not really believe people who claim that they overcome major losses without grief and the pain involved, that´s not natural in the sense of constructive (though I don´t want to proclaim any other concept of how things work, for I really can´t tell, and I don´t really feel like opposing anything).
Some of my thoughts, thanks for this excellent article! 🙂
In my view, I don’t really see the Vibrational Ladder as judging any emotion as better or worse. In fact, it’s important not to do so, because we will resist feeling any emotion we deem “bad”. But if we stay out of our own way, we will naturally move along that ladder and not allowing ourselves to do so will lead to unnecessary suffering (and I know you’re going to disagree with the word “unnecessary”, LOL).
I agree, though, that people who claim to have gotten over a major loss without grieving are, for lack of a better phrase, full of BS. They are almost certainly in denial. I suppose one could get so enlightened that grief no longer is part of the equation, but such individuals are exceedingly rare, and anyone sensitive to energy would feel their incredibly high vibration. In other words, the BS meter wouldn’t go off. 🙂
Thanks for your thought provoking comment!
Thanks for your (always so) sensitive, compassionate, respectful respond(s)!
Some major points actually seem to evolve for me here from the dialogs; and I´m enjoying it very much.
I don´t know yet if I really can agree on the techniques to higher resp. aligning your vibration up to / with the one of your desire. I can agree on the vibrational ladder as a succession of slightly distinct emotional states, but I´m not sure if I pass them in the correct order or anyhow on my way to a higher vibration (and I have given up on analysing it, which might sometimes show in my distorted commenting.. :-)). Plus I´m really not sure if it´s sensible to set a goal, and then climb up the vibrational ladder by certain techniques, as elegant they may be, to reach the desired state (when you apply a technique you´re already off your inner guidance). For me it´s more about finding the right place/state by following your intuition, or following everything which might come up, incl. applying what you already know, and deciding moment for moment (or from case to case) about what turn to take next. And, no I´m not a stickler of suffering as a neccessary component for progress, you don´t need to consider suffering at all, you only have to make your choices in everything you confront with (feeling, idea, state, circumstance etc.) without judgment. And, yes, I´m a stickler to pain being a component of our life, but pain as an energy which gives information, like every other energy, and in that sense, you can call everything deeply felt pain, joy, love, grief, happiness, sadness.
Sara, happy to move on to your next article..
PS: what does BS mean, BeafSteak?
Ahahaha Sara. That made me laugh. BS is short of Bullshit. 😀
I couldn’t agree more on the judgment thing – when we let go of judgment, when we just allow things to occur as they do and see the perfection in everything, then we truly step out of suffering. That’s also when we have the easiest time receiving what we want, because we no longer push against it. I just had a major insight about all of this and as soon as I’m done processing it all, I’ll write about it (otherwise, it comes out all jumbled…)
Also, I would agree that using techniques can take you off the track, UNLESS, you are intuitively led to a technique. If you’re a match to it, it becomes a useful tool to help you get to the next level. So, if you don’t resonate with a technique, don’t use it. Because then it probably won’t work for you anyway… 🙂
Huge hugs to you,
While reading your blogs I feel as if you are reading my mind and answering all the questions which are there in my mind….I do believe that every individual has its own time period of grieving….and their own ways of getting healed….some of my friends are scolding me for grieving for so many days or even talking on the topic….but I always tell them that I feel better by talking/venting out….I get suffocated if I don’t get to vent out…suppression is not at all good….every time when you vent out there’s some space emptied inside…and you feel lighter each time…..until and unless you clear the old things…you cannot make space for the new one….I feel that before practicing spirituality completely one must go through all such phases of life which one desires strongly….experience it, live it….suppression leads to many mind blockades….but Melody, we cannot do all those things which we feel like doing….some social bindings….old value and belief system doesn’t allow us to fulfill all our emotions…especially, for women, in my country….i am from India…Thank you very much for your such lovely blogs melody….love you and a very warm hug….:)
I’m glad that you feel I’m reading your mind – that’s LOA for you. You ask, and it is answered! :o)
I would disagree. Your culture may frown upon certain EXPRESSIONS of emotion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have them. Just find another way to express yourself. For example, you can be angry and punch a pillow in private, or you can be angry and have a meltdown at your cousin’s wedding. The important thing is to acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to have them. Then find a socially acceptable way to express yourself. But “socially acceptable” is changing, as well. Even in India.
If you need to vent – vent. Just pay attention to what you’re saying. If you’re having the same conversation over and over again, if you’re venting the same way on the same thing again and again, you’re stuck and it’s time to make a shift. But if you’re moving forward each time, keep going. It’s a method that works for you, whether your friends like it or not. 🙂
this is the first time to visit your blog. I must say that this was a really nice post, something that we all need to read, understand, and know about. Grief is a feeling which we all went through at some points of our lives. My problem with grief is that i never know what to say to someone that is grieving. Thank you for your wise advices, I will follow them for sure.
Welcome to Deliberate Receiving!
I’m so glad this post was helpful to you. Thanks so much for commenting.
Great information about all the different reasons why people do or do not allow themselves to grieve. I grew up with my mother wearing black clothes for almost three years (then it was another years of gray and dark purple) as it was then her religious custom and beliefs. The reason for this is that my mother had lost her mother, father and husband in a 3 years span.
Many years later I told her that wearing that black was not doing any good to the deads, but was affecting me who could see it and wanted it over with. She agreed that it was a stupid thing to do, but back then she didn’t know any better.
However, this has shapped the way I grief subconsciously, I believe, and when I grieve I prevent myself to feel better by feeling guilty if I do feel better. Just like you mentioned in your post.
Now that you’re aware of this belief, you’ll have a much easier time shifting it. It’s best to do so when you’re not grieving, though (so don’t wait until the next one dies…) The dead don’t benefit from our grief. It’s our emotion, and a necessary one, but one we aren’t ever meant to get stuck in. They rejoice when we feel better. They do not stand in judgment (as in, “How could you feel better so soon?! Did you not love me?!”). That’s an entirely human belief. When we die, we revert to a state of pure love and pure love does not manipulate or guilt people into stuff. Pure love wants you to feel good. I’ll do a post about death in a bit, where I’ll go into this subject further.
Whew! I was just thinking about writing about anger. I love what you said here. Anger isn’t always inherently bad, there are some situations where it can be beneficial. It can bring people out of depression or anxiety, and so in that way at least, it is very useful.
Grief is definitely a touchy subject. Like you said, most people are not wanting to be bothered. Yet we want to help.
What I tend to do, is completely stay out of their business unless they ask for my help. I’ve gotten to where I don’t feel much responsibility for anyone else’s emotions. The only thing I can control is mine. Now, if someone asked for my help, that’s a different matter. But I don’t go poking my nose around where it doesn’t belong, that’s for sure!
GJ THE Melody. 🙂
Hiya Fred…Freddy…Fredster (we need a nickname for you. Where is the Derrek the NameMeister when you need him?),
It’s awesome that you’ve figured out that it’s not your job to make others feel better. I use my intuition on when to step in and help and when to just leave people to it. And most of the time, my intuition tells me to walk away. The world does not depend upon me to save it (it’s kind of arrogant to think that it does…) But I do have an intention to help and I do attract people who will benefit from my words or sometimes just a hug. And in those cases, they gladly accept the help, truly benefit from it and don’t turn into clingy, needy people who suddenly depend on me. If I don’t use my intuition and just take action, things don’t tend to go that smoothly.
Thanks Freddilicious (yeah… that’s not it, is it…)
It is true so many people do not give themselves permission to feel their feelings. As a mental health nurse I see people everyday that have not properly grieved and end up with serious depression or addiction. Bottled up emotions will come out one way or another.
As you mentioned everyone is entitled to grieve in their own way. There is no need to judge anyone for how they express their grief. The important thing is for each of us to recognize the need to honor our innermost feelings and emotions and allow others to do the same.
People need time and space to grieve. Yes people need support but the support has to come in a form that is helpful to them. I love the section of this article where you talk about what to say to a grieving person. You’re right on! In this case it is not always about treating people how you want to be treated but finding out how a particular individuals would like to be treated and providing that support in the manner they asked.
Ultimately sadness is just another feeling and it is a part of life. If we allow ourselves to BE with this feeling – it will pass.
Peace, Love & Gratitude,
Thanks so much for the professional validation. How sad that people suppress these emotions to the point where they end up in a mental hospital. But I think all that is changing (albeit slowly). More and more people are waking up and figuring out that emotions are not only necessary but a good thing. The more we allow our emotions, the more we can avoid a lot of the “issues” that society currently has.
Huge hugs to you!
I knew there was a reason you didn’t comment on THAT post, Melody. I am psychic like that. Actually, you can call me the psy – chic.
I am confused. I have to think about this as I’m confused to my normal emotional state. Being a human being is confusing.
Psy-chic! LOL. Love it.
Being a human being can be supremely confusing. But if you ask for clarity, you’ll find it. I look forward to reading what you have to say when you do. 🙂
Mellow-D (looks like we both have street names now.)
I have trouble knowing what to say to people who are grieving. There is a fine line between appropriate and awkward moments here.
I’ll take your advice to be honest and let them know I’ll be there for them. I can’t see that as being a bad answer in any grieving situation.
Most people don’t know what to say. We want to make it all better and can’t think of how – because it’s not our job to make it all better. That’s the false belief here. But we can offer support so that when the person is ready to come out of the grief cave, they will have someone who can reach them a hand.
Good tips. I can totally relate to that. Seriously, I’m surrounded by staunch pessimists, so to speak.. some of my closest friends, my mom, etc. Most of the times I try to get them to see the positive sides of things and focus on solution rather than problems, but ah well they usually just ignore that. But yeah, justifying usually doesn’t help with someone who’s grieving.. it’s more about emotions. Many times they just want to vent and instantly feel bit better after they let all this stuff out of their chest. So I just try my best to be a good listener and give my input when I feel I should. I can’t count how many times I say “it’s gonna be fine” in one single day, lol.
It’s important to remember that it’s not your job to make those around you feel better. You can influence them (if they let you) by staying in your happy place, but if they don’t want to come, you can’t make them. I wrote a post about this a while back. You can find it here: http://www.deliberateblog.com/2011/07/28/can-the-negative-thoughts-of-others-influence-us-vlog/
Thanks for the comment!
I love this! Especially this line: “we want to make them feel better so that we can feel better.” SO TRUE! I can relate, or could relate to feeling helpless. When my brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, I felt so helpless. It was a minor miracle that a visitor to my blog asked me “Why do you feel HELPLESS?” which started me on the path to understanding why I always felt such a need to help people. I cleared it (using the technique in THP 😉 and thought I was home free! Then something happened to make me realize I still had work to do in this area. Tell me; is it the hardest to allow others to experience their process when they are the ones very close to you (or is this just me LOL)
Wonderful stuff Melody!
Don’t beat yourself up. Beliefs (especially the big ones) often have layers. You can only let go of as much of it as you’re able to at one time. Then, later, when you’ve integrated that and perhaps released some other beliefs, you can let go of more of it. The fact that you’re now aware of this belief again is a sign that you’re ready to release more. This is a good thing.
And yes, it’s hardest to shift our beliefs on those we care about. Our family triggers us like no one else can. You can often get rid of a belief when it comes to other people, only to realize that your family can still trigger it (it’s a deeper layer). Generally, if you can release something to the point where your family can’t even affect you, you’re home free. 🙂
So, you didn’t fail the last time, you released what you could and now it’s time to go deeper.
There are indeed many things in life that can cause us grief apart from death. I think the conflict emotions is largely an inability to accept change or the new status quo. But having said that, there are not many of us who are able to manage change with such calm detachment.
For most of us, we have to accept the change and deal with it and this is where grief comes in to help us through this transition. The more we resist the change, the greater the grief and yet, it is also a healing process to help us come to terms with the new status quo. This I believe is a vital point. So how long a person grieves depends on many factors.
As for what to say to someone who’s grieving, I feel it is more important to let them know they can turn to you at any point. No matter how many years they take to grief, you will always be there for them. No matter what unearthly hour they choose to call you at or ask you out, you will be there for them to listen. This might seem extreme, but people rarely abuse such an offer. It is the message you convey that they are not alone that helps and gives them the strength to cope with their grief. The rest of the healing process itself takes time, but it will be easier with this support you provide.
Because I know grieving is part of the healing process, I try to hit rock bottom as quickly as possible so I can get up again. By embracing your grief fully, you allow the healing to begin. From there, it is a matter of time. Time heals all wounds, it is how you manage the time for healing that really matters.
Thank you for sharing this much needed article. The world needs to cope with grief better.
Irving the Vizier
Welcome to Deliberate Receiving!
I totally agree – it’s all about change, and you can grieve any change. I like to think that I’ve gotten better at dealing with change, and I totally have, but the truth is, I’ve gotten better at dealing with certain kinds of change. When I hit an area that I haven’t made my peace with, I freak out just like everyone else (ok, perhaps not JUST like everyone else. I like to think my freak outs are spectacular. Ha). I have noticed that as my entire perspective has changed and my vibration has become raised, I am able to handle many situations without actually grieving, especially those that don’t directly affect me (I no longer grieve for others).
I love your idea of actually trying to hit rock bottom. I tend to resist it (I want to feel better) and that just delays the process, until I remember not to do that. I’ll take this on board the next time I need it – go for rock bottom.
Huge hugs to you,
Your comment about hitting rock bottom reminded me of two contrasting student responses to deaths.
At a school where I taught in Canada, under-expressed grief led to a year of denial and tension as one teen suicide led to three more suicides and countless attempts. I’m not faulting the school leaders, who did everything they could think of, but rather the pervasive culture of hushing-up death.
Years later I was working in a school in Alabama where almost all the students were black and very poor. A student died tragically, and many of the students fell totally to pieces, screaming in the halls, fainting, crying. I saw the principal carrying an hysterical girl in his arms. Many adults from the community came in to help so each child had someone to talk to if they wanted.
Three hours later, I was astonished when everyone calmed down and classes continued. The students expressed their rock bottom, and then were ready to go back to schoolwork. I gained an enormous respect (and to be honest, envy) for the emotional openness of these lovely students. Yes, everyone continued to mourn, but life carried on.
How much better to let it all out!
Holy Crap Mary Carol. What a powerful story! Thanks for sharing this with everyone.
Huge hugs to you!
Thanks for your kind words, Melody!
Another aspect that interests me is anniversary grief. Recurring grief is the theme of the vampire poem in the commentluv. It was first published by an man who called me in tears remembering his sister (national magazine publishers pretty much never call poets!).
I think grief is an emotion that echoes, like a sound wave. For thirty years, I have found myself inexplicably off balance around the beginning of June, until I remember again each year that we are nearing the anniversary of my father’s death. Once I recognize and honor the continued sadness of the lack of his physical presence in my life, tranquility resurfaces. To me, this isn’t a problem of unresolved emotion, but rather a welcome annual reminder of a beautiful life.
Our sense of time is certainly circular. If I eat at 3 am, I’ll wake up hungry in the middle of the next night. If I get up with an alarm at 6:30 am for a few days, I’ll start waking up naturally at 6:28 or 6:29. I think grief can be like that too, only with a longer potential span. Consciousness is amazing!
To me, your advice about talking with a person experiencing grief is spot on. “I’m sorry. How can I help?” And a hug. That’s it.
And another hug for you, too,
Wow, I hadn’t even thought of cyclical grief. It’s great that you see it from such a positive perspective. I don’t think I have any anniversaries like that anymore. I’ve let go of the ones I had, and see no value in hanging on to anything that feels bad from the past. But using anniversaries to joyfully remember those who’ve transitioned sounds wonderful. I feel that way when I visit my grandmother’s grave (she’s in Germany, so I don’t get to go often). I find it peaceful and not sad at all (anymore).
There’s so much more to explore in this topic. I don’t think this will be the last time I write about it. And then, there’s the whole death thingy… *queue ominous music* 😉
Thanks, Melody. This post is so full of wisdom, I’ve already read it twice and will read it again later to absorb more.
For some reason, the notion of ‘vibrational discord’ just clicked in for me. I guess I didn’t get it at some level before, and connected to grieving, it just makes sense. I’ve spent years trying for clarity, the outside matching the inside. In fact, my first book of poems is called Clear Soul. But I never had a mechanism to explain clarity. I thought of matching actions to intentions; gently speaking the truth; being the same authentic self with friends, family, and strangers… All good, but matching your outer vibration with your inner vibration works at the deepest level. Huge sigh! Yeah and wow!
Thank you, thank you, lovely wise woman! Many hugs,
You’re going to make by cry, lady! All I can say is, takes one to know one. Ha! Aaaaaand, we’re back.
It’s weird how we can hear the same things over and over again and get different things. That’s because we only hear what we’re ready to hear. I re-read books and listen to tapes over and over again. I get something new each time. That’s one reason that I don’t worry about running out of blog topics. If I ever have to talk about the same things again, people will hear something new. 🙂
Fuzzy puppy hugs,
I have read this now – it is just what a needed to hear and read ( would have been helpful 4 years ago too)…I am offering to be that professional listening person – at Wise Ears because I know how important that person is…what amazing work is this thing called grief.
Also as I read this I got a huge sigh of release for the optimistic child that was so ground down trying to squeeze love out of any place she could find it….and surrounded by perfectionism that she could never achieve…and so much anger just went out. Whoosh!
sometime you have to release over and over again because the storage unit is so dammed up deep.
One can still happy dance that they survived
This post really wanted to come out. For a week, I was BOMBARDED by posts, questions and conversations about grief. Then, last week, when I co-hosted the Oliver Show on 12Radio, the topic was… wait for it… grief. So, clearly, a lot of people were asking this question.
While this post isn’t about death, the grief bit still fits. I just couldn’t also include the whole after-life thingy. It would’ve gone on way too long. I’ll tackle that in another post.
Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback. And yes, I agree, people should call Wise Ears if they need someone to listen. 🙂