In 3 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Grieving, I point you to the common pitfalls we encounter during the healing process.
Most of us never think about loss until it happens to us. What follows is the unbearable pain of grief. We’re already in deep waters and must do all we can just to stay afloat.
Here are the top 3 mistakes to avoid when you’re grieving.
#1. Try not to become attached to a timeline. Wanting to be done with grief in a month is like wanting to run a 5k two weeks after heart surgery. Recovering from loss is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual journey. Healing happens on all levels — and this takes time. Comparing your recovery rate with someone else’s only makes you feel like a failure. Please understand that your situation is complicated by factors that are unique to you — your age, relationship with the person who died, their age and circumstances of death, your belief system, the support you received or not from friends/family, your faith or the lack of it, and much more. Give up the need to finish grieving by next Wednesday. Allow the healing to happen naturally.
#2. Give up the need for others to heal you. Those who have supportive friends and/or family are truly blessed. Then there are others whose friends and/or family move through life pretending the loss didn’t happen, never mention the name of the loved one who died, or urge you to “get over it.” If that’s you, I understand your anger and disappointment. Let them know that this is “your” walk and that you’ll do it in the way that feels most authentic to you. Friends and family are a bonus — but the real work of inner healing is yours. You have the resources to heal your broken heart. If you don’t know what to do, ask…and the help you seek will find you.
#3. Don’t identify with the painful event. It is important to find someone who can witness your story of loss. It is essential to healing. But some people become so identified with their story of loss that they “become the story.” The pain becomes their self-definition. They no longer know who they are without their painful story and they attach to it. In retelling it to everyone who will listen, they become more and more identified with their “victim” position. If this is you, it is very important to recognize that if you’re constantly living your pain you cannot heal it. This thing happened to you. It is not you. You had a life before it happened. And there is life to be lived after the loss. But you must choose healing. State this as a sacred desire and your heart will show you the way.
In all my years of supporting the grieving, these are the top 3 mistakes I see that keep them stuck.
Allow grief to show you the way. Your grief knows your path but it cannot do its work in you if you don’t open your heart.
If you’d like some gentle guidance on how to move past any of the above 3 mistakes, a Single Session is a good place to get started.