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. Second, in living your one life, you are here to love and lose. No one knows why. It is just so, if you commit to living, you will inevitably know loss and grief.
Loss and grief is a condition of life. Your life is composed of an infinite number of changes. Each change involves a loss. Each loss must be dealt with before you move on to the next. Sometimes the losses are minor, like the tree you love swinging in falling over, or the playground equipment being removed. Your best friend may move away. You come to the end of the school year and have to say goodbye to your favourite teacher.
As time goes on you learn that change and the loss of your normal is constant. Sometimes the new normal is way better, sometimes it is worse. You learn that some losses are okay and others take time to adjust to.
Sooner or later in your life you encounter more devastating losses. A close friendship ends, your first romantic relationship ends, a much loved family pet dies, a close family member dies.
This is when you discover the pain of losses that hurt deeply.
Most of the time you learn that having relationships has a cost.
But in life you don’t necessarily learn how to grieve.
LEARNING TO GRIEVE
You learn how to grieve from the people around you growing up.
If your father told you to not be so stupid at being upset because your pet died you may well believe it is not okay to be upset at the death of an animal. Even though it is perfectly normal to grieve the loss of a pet.
If your mother lost the job she loved and she put on a brave face and never appeared to be upset, then you may believe it is normal to get over the loss of a job and not normal to get upset or grieve over it.
If your grandmother died and you never saw your parents cry. If they even remained dry eyed at the funeral. If they never mentioned her again and never seemed to be upset. Then you may have the idea that it is not normal to be upset and cry and want to talk about the person who has died.
If you heard the adults around you criticising someone who was crying about losing their spouse and judging them because the funeral was over and it was time they “got over it” then you would likely learn it was not okay to grieve beyond the funeral.
If you were devastated by the end of a friendship and the people around you told you to buck up and come out and enjoy yourself. If you were never allowed time to process the emotions around that friendship you would get the message that you are not supposed to grieve friendships.
HOW OTHER PEOPLE’S DISCOMFORT IMPACTS ON YOUR GRIEVING
During your lifetime there are myriad ways people will communicate to you that grief is unhealthy and you have to get on with things and not experience the emotions and disruption of grief.
Don’t listen to them!
I have lost count of the number of people who come to see me thinking there is something wrong with them because they lost their loved one, job, pet, moved to a new area, had their house burgled, had their car stolen and so on and they are “taking too long” to get over the event. Because they are expected to get over it in a matter of days.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GRIEVING
The reality is, other people get bored with your grief.
Other people are uncomfortable with the emotions around your grief.
The messages you get to end the grief are about other people’s comfort, not your own.
You are born to live in relationships and the ending of those will hurt. You are born to form connections with the things you do, the things you own and the end/loss of those will hurt.
You are also born to live your own life in your own way.
So the next time you lose someone or something live your life and live your grief in the way you need to. Not in the way other people feel comfortable having you live.
If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with living your life and living your grief in the way you need to, please contact me on 0409396608 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz