How Do You Grieve? And Why Bother?

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How Do You Grieve? And Why Bother?

Grief is challenging in part because it feels painful, complicated, and vulnerable. I mean, who out there, really wants to grieve? Some never do process grief and in avoiding it, carry it deep within the psyche…a heaviness hidden from the self. Some are experts in processing emotions and just do so, eventually moving along. A funeral can often act as a wonderful way to bring closure to the grieving process and to start celebrating the life of those who have passed. You can find a detailed break down here of services like cremation. Between these two points are every other way we steer our course through emotions, specifically grief. So how do you grieve? Does it just happen naturally? Do you have to make space for it, taking specific actions in order to feel the range of what comes up? For those of you familiar with the terrain of grief…please be our sherpa and tell us how you navigate.

While grief comes through in times when we have lost someone we love. It’s also an emotional experience that can accompany any type of loss or change. If you switch jobs, become a parent, finish your degree, retire, go from a stay-at-home parent to a working-outside-the-house parent, move out of state, and the list goes on, all of these experiences (even when they represent something positive) are a type of loss. Change is loss. Most people have grieved for someone they loved after they’ve passed away. And for some people, they must now start thinking about organising a funeral. If this is you and you don’t know where to start, then it may be in your best interests to contact who can help give them the perfect send-off. If you change the way you treat your body and your eating habits, you are losing the other way you have been living. Like that song goes, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

I notice for myself, that sometimes I have “built in” aspects, created to “protect me,” that can keep me from going deep into emotion. So I have to make space to soften myself. I have to make sure that I’m not unconsciously escaping from my feelings through food, substances, shopping, socializing, over working, trying to control things in my life or trying to control others. I have to take really good care of myself with what I am eating, how I am sleeping, etc. I have to find ways to soothe myself and allow myself to become more introverted. And then slowly if I give myself space to reflect, journal, take baths, watch sad movies, listen to music…the emotions will come. This is how I invite my emotional self…because just like a tender, careful, shy child, my emotional self has had to slowly learn to trust me. In the past I hurt it through pushing it away, making it “buck up,” abusing it through harsh internal language, and simply ignoring it as if I didn’t have an emotional self.

So why go through this? Why bother taking the time to process our emotions or our grief? Especially since, if you’re like me, there are so many ways to go unconscious and avoid our soft sides. For some of us, if we don’t make this space, it will begin to take over, at worst, this is the core of the classic “nervous breakdown.” More mild versions are: break through emotions where we overreact to things (discharging unprocessed emotions at others) and depression (where our emotions turn against us or get stuck.) So one answer to why bother: this is how we avoid these small and large breakdowns. By making space for our emotional side, we can keep our emotional experience in it’s rightful, personal place…rather than unconsciously bringing them into our work lives or having them erupt without conscious intention. This is how we take care of ourselves. This is what healthy and balanced people do. Yet there is also another reason to make a conscious effort to meet our emotional self or process our emotions and grief. In doing so, our emotional side becomes our ally; (drum roll please) we actually become stronger and wiser. A metaphor for this is found in fairytales or mythology where the hero finally conquers the dragon and the dragon who was once a tyrant transforms into the hero’s right-hand companion for the rest of the journey.

When we become softer and allow our emotions to come through we become freer, and what is left, is stronger. Our emotions will then bring us many gifts including compassion, tenderness, and a sense that we are whole.