In the previous article, 6 Myths Keeping You Stuck in Your Grief (part 2), we discussed how isolating yourself from others and waiting for time to heal our wounds keeps us stuck in our grief.
Our emotional reaction depends on the unique relationship we had with the individual, or the event, which caused our grief. Additionally, our grief is influenced by what we have witnessed, heard, or experienced.
The 6 myths are universal. While most of us are familiar with them they have not been recognized as such. These myths do not appear in any particular order, some overlap, and each can be limiting in several ways. Without the proper tools to process our incomplete emotions the myths can allow us to remain present in our pain. Being aware of the 6 myths is a significant step to recovery.
In part 1 and part 2 of this 3-part series we discussed 4 of these 6 myths: “Don’t feel bad”, “Replace the loss”, “Grieving alone”, and “Time heals all wounds”. In part 3 we discuss the final two myths which include “Being strong for others” and “Staying busy”.
Be Strong for Others
It is important to understand we cannot be something, for another human being. We can only be responsible for ourselves, our actions, reactions, and the emotions we feel.
In an attempt to prevent others from feeling uncomfortable we control, or deny, the expression of our true emotions. When asked how we are doing, many of us respond with an automatic, “I’m fine”.
Denying these emotions prevents us from being honest, not only with ourselves, but also encourages dishonesty with others who are also grieving.
You are human and the body you are navigating is fueled by both thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. Friedman, the late Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute, believed the most practical solution for being strong for others is to be honest and express openly the feelings you are having. In the end the decision is yours. “You can be strong, or you can be human, Pick One!”
We all have a natural ways of interacting and living in the world. Grieve can knock us down or throw off our normal way of interacting with others. In my work with grief clients many have shared how others suggest and want them to stay busy.
Grief has a way of changing our life rhythms. If we are naturally a busy person and we intentionally increase our activity we can easily push ourselves to the point of exhaustion. Alternatively, if we normally exists in a more relaxed schedule, to become busy, we can push our natural rhythm even further out of whack.
Grief can be exhausting and if we add staying busy we can compound fatigue. Feeling perpetually tired additionally fuels any feelings of stress and anxiety.
Staying busy is simply a distraction. It keeps our mind active, so it doesn’t have to think; to feel. Staying busy buries our emotions under a landslide of activity preventing us from seeing the need for action towards recovery.
The longer we wait to act, the more difficult it can be to access our true feelings. If we have buried our feelings for years, we may not even be aware they exist.
Staying busy, distracting ourselves from our true emotions, is a sure way of sidestepping the inevitable. The truth remains: Grief is negatively cumulative and can have lifelong effect on our capacity for happiness. Staying busy does not alter the fact we need to take steps towards recovery.
Grief is the normal and natural reaction to an emotional loss of any kind. Grief is the emotion we feel when something familiar changes. We default, as we attempt to deal with grief, to what we have witnessed, heard, or experienced. These approaches are not always helpful.
Many of us, over time, have sought support for our grief by embracing 1 or more of the 6 grief myths. We may not recall where the advice originated from or stopped to evaluate if the methods are helpful.
Being aware of the 6 myths is an important step towards healing. Understanding the myths allows us to realize there is nothing wrong with us. If the resources available to us have not helped our grief it is because we have not found the correct information.
Grief is almost always about things we wished had been better different or more. It is about unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations. Grief is also about undelivered communications.
At The Grief Recovery Institute, we believe completeness is the result of being able to say the things we never said or what we felt were never heard, with someone listening. Completeness provides us the ability to say goodbye to the pain.
It is not time that heals our broken heart but rather the actions we choose to take during the time we have. The Grief Recovery Method® is an education, action-oriented program that provides an alternative to traditional therapy and a successful solution to staying stuck in grief due to the 6 myths.
Tammy Adams, Certified Coach Practitioner offering support, in-person or online, Canada-wide. She is certified in The Grief Recovery Method®, Personality Dimensions™, Reiki, Access Bars®, and Mindfulness. To learn more about the services she offers, book a 20-minute free phone consult, or visit her service tab on her website at http://tadams.ca/