Grieving takes as long as it takes, and it’s as hard as it is.
We can’t rush grieving.
Many people try to rush it. They think they can wait grief out by refusing to acknowledge it.
Not acknowledging grief does nothing but prolong it.
We grieve when we lose people.
We grieve when we lose pets.
We grieve when we lose well-established relationships or experience changes in well-entrenched life patterns.
Grief is the mind’s and the body’s way of processing loss.
When we lose things that are important to us, we’re not just sad that those things are no longer there.
Loss forces us to look, squarely in the eye, the reality of the passage of time.
The reality that everything is temporary.
The reality that we will never be able to settle into a routine indefinitely, because the only fundamental constant in the world really is change.
Loss reminds us of dreams and ambitions and plans we once had.
Loss reminds us of relationships and bonds we once had.
Loss reminds us of past times, both good and bad…but which are gone forever.
Grief is how we try to deal with being reminded of all of those things…and how we begin to accept the loss of those things.
Our brains struggle with the concept of “acceptance.”
When we experience something that is painful, we’re not great at accepting the reality that that painful thing even exists. Our first instinct is to reject the reality of that thing, in a futile hope that our rejection of it may cause it to not exist.
Things exist whether or not we accept them.
Loss definitely exists whether or not we accept its reality.
Grief is a series of emotional reactions that help us bridge that gap between wanting to deny that loss exists, or that loss is painful…and the reality of needing to accept that loss simply is.
Refusing to let yourself grieve, because you fear the pain involved, is a cruel thing to do to yourself.
The pain of loss exists whether or not you allow yourself to grieve.
But trying to deny and disown that pain leaves you feeling fundamentally unseen and unheard.
If we are to consider ourselves important, we need to consider all parts of us important— including our pain.
If we are to build self-esteem, we need to listen to ourselves.
We need to console ourselves.
We need to honor our pain— which is different from celebrating or glorifying our pain.
Grief will not kill you.
But trying to hold back your grief— your true feelings— for a prolonged period of time will do violence to your emotional health.
It’s impossible to be at peace with yourself, or the world, if you’re actively trying to deny and disown an experience as powerful as grief.
Loss is hard to accept.
But trying to ignore the feelings it causes is not an option.
Part of you carries that pain, whether you acknowledge it or not.
And not acknowledging the pain of loss is an excellent way to develop a relationship with yourself that involves a lot of resentment and distrust.
Be kind to yourself. Be compassionate toward yourself.
Acknowledge your grief.
Give yourself what you need to grieve.
Take the time you need to grieve.
Subscribe to the Doc’s free weekly email newsletter, and never miss a blog or social media post!