Greif, in its simplest form, is experienced by people that have gone through some type of loss. People may suffer from anger, sadness, anxiety, fluctuations in normal everyday patterns such as sleep and eating. Often, grief is stigmatized in a way that causes an individual to internalize negative comments. Statements that advise the victim to “move on” or comments that make the death sound inevitable could make the experience of loss worse rather than better.
Megan Devine is a psychotherapist and grief advocate who decided to challenge the norms around recovering from grief through her book titled “It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok”. She breaks the norms surrounding what people should feel and experience during grief. Allowing the person to grieve in their own way. Perhaps it’s time to change our definition and outlook on what grief is and how people should be experiencing it.
“There is a twin paradox in being human. First, no one can live your life for you – no one can face what is yours to face or feel what is yours to feel – and no one can make it alone. Secondly, in living our one life, we are here to love and lose. No one knows why. It is just so. If we commit to loving, we will inevitably know loss and grief. If we try to avoid loss and grief, we will never truly love. Yet powerfully and mysteriously, knowing both love and loss is what brings us fully and deeply alive.
Every one of us that has felt judged, shamed, and corrected in our grief. We shared stories of being encouraged to “get over it,” put the past behind us, and stop talking about those we had lost. We were admonished to move on without lives and told we needed these deaths in order to learn what was important in life. Even those who tried to help ended up hurting. Platitudes and advice, even when said with good intentions, come across as dismissive, reducing such great pain to greeting card one-liners.””
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Feature Image: Marcus Ganahl, On Unsplash, Creative Commons