While a natural stage of life– coping with loss, death and heartbreak– can become difficult.
Our capitalistic culture seems desperate to minimize the presence of grief and loss, instead celebrating optimism and self-improvement. We don’t have as much tolerance for sadness, philosophical reflection, rage, depression, confusion, social withdrawal, and a sense of defeat. We aren’t educated about “what to do” when we encounter these negative feelings in ourselves and in others.
Good natured attempts at compassion, e.g., “just get over it” or “think of all the good things” or “the person (whom died) wouldn’t want you to be so sad,” or, “replace your loss with a new ____,or “(the loss) was years ago, why are you still upset?” usually end up silencing the truth of what the bereaved is feeling.
Often, people cope with their feelings of loss and grief by distraction, (of which our culture is extremely adept at providing). Overworking, overeating, over-spending, over-sexing, over-medicating, or withdrawing in other ways, are common. These methods may work in the short-term to keep pain at bay, but don’t resolve deeper feelings of loss and grief. Further, as life continues on, continued unresolved grief can build up and create rigidity and unhappiness.
Having a non-hurried, non-judgmental space to navigate grief can be invaluable. The brain and heart need time to make sense of what’s happened. As a result, moving past agony and into consolidation, allows you to be more present again in your own life. You can feel genuinely happy.