- 01 Jul
5 Things We All Need to Know About Grief
Why am I writing to you about grief?
First of all, because we all deal with grief, every one of us. Secondly, because grief is not often talked about, yet it needs to be. Thirdly, grief recovery is a big part of my focus and my work with clients, and has been for almost 14 years.
Here are 5 important things to know about grief:
1) Grief is About Loss
There are over 40 types of losses that we might experience in our lifetime. These include:
• Death of a Loved One
• Job Loss
• Death of a Pet
• Change in Finances
• Loss of Trust
• Loss of Safety
• Loss of Property or Home
• Beliefs Change
And many others…
2) Grief is More Than Sadness
It manifests in many different ways. Grief is the complex mix of feelings we experience when there is any type of significant loss. It can manifest as deep pain, numbness, depression, anger, relief, feelings of isolation or loneliness, fogginess, fear, anxiety and more…
Grief can also cause lack of concentration, insomnia, mood swings, health issues, weight gain, weight loss, nightmares, outbursts, an inability enjoy life, loss of faith, and so on…
3) Grief is Accumulative
It can feel like a tidal wave. We all experience losses in our lives and, unless dealt with, grief can be accumulative. A recent loss can bring up many old losses as though they are happening all over again. The tidal wave of grief includes all the unresolved emotional business in our lives.
4) There are unhelpful Myths about Grief
There are a lot of unhelpful ideas out there about grieving, and they can get in the way of your healing. Here is what the Grief Recovery Institute® says about these myths:
Grief is the normal and natural emotional response to loss, but most of the information we’ve learned about dealing with loss is intellectual. Although our Grief Support Groups involve some educational elements, effective Grief Recovery must deal with your broken heart, which requires emotional support instead of intellectual explanations.
Here are the unhelpful Myths about Grief
• Time heals all wounds
• Replace the loss
• Grieve alone
• Be strong
• Don’t feel bad
• Keep busy
5) Grief is Meant to be Completed
It doesn’t just go away by itself. Grieving is normal and natural and it is meant to be completed.
Grieving takes time, absolutely. We need time to feel the impact, move though the healing process and adjust to the changes in our lives when there is a loss. However, our lives are not meant to be hijacked by long-term grief, no matter how significant, valuable, and important the person, situation, or thing was to us.
Russell Friedman, co-founder of the Grief Recovery Method®, says that waiting for grief to go away is like sitting by the side of the road when you have a flat tire, waiting for it to fill with air again.
We each have to take action to complete our losses so that we can heal our hearts and live full lives again.
Is it ever too soon to address grief?
I’ve already shared the unhelpful myth, “time heals all wounds”. Unfortunately, that widely used expression creates the idea that we just have to wait and we’ll automatically feel better. I’ve known people who’ve waited ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years and still didn’t feel better. Many of these people would tell you that, not only had time not healed them, it actually compounded the pain. It’s not time that heals, but what you do with the time you have.
It is never too soon to start healing. If you broke your leg you probably wouldn’t wait to call the doctor. Why wait to get help when your heart feels like it’s broken?
Some first steps to starting that process is to read The Grief Recovery Handbook (click) and look for a Grief Recovery support group (click) in your area. The Grief Recovery Method®, developed and refined over the past 30 years, teaches you how to recover from loss with supportive guidance every step of the way. It is an experiential, action-based private program, and is considered one of the most sensible, accessible, and authentic plans available for recovery from loss.
I was trained and certified as a Grief Recovery Specialist at the Grief Recovery Institute® in 2002 by co-founder Russell Freidman. I’ve lead a number of Grief Recovery groups, as well as working the process one-on-one with many of my clients.
About the Author
Justina Vail Evans
Justina is a personal development coach, speaker, award-winning author, and award-winning actor.