Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Myths & Misconceptions of Grief & Loss {Part 1}

Let's face it- lots of people like to give tips on grieving and loss, right? I'm often shocked at some of the things my clients & friends are told by well meaning co-workers, friends, and family when experiencing a loss. YIKES! Some of these myths & misconceptions can lead to a lot more pain and frustration for ourselves as we try to deal with the loss that we've experienced. Here is the first post of at least two addressing the myths & misconceptions.

  • There is one “right way” to deal with grief: There isn’t just one way to grieve. There are certainly things you can do to grieve in a healthy way, and there are things you can do to stay stuck, but there is not one right way. Grief looks different for every person and in every situation. Don't feel guilty if something someone suggests doesn't work! We're all different people with different personalities and needs! 
  •  The grieving process occurs in 5 orderly stages: Again, to characterize grief as a universal process just isn’t true. Yes, everyone may go through similar types of stages (i.e. denial, anger, depression, etc…). However, you don’t complete one stage and move to the next until you are done. Every day can bring a different experience-it’s not a checklist. And sometimes, you may experience many "stages" throughout the day. That is OK and normal! 
  •   “Time heals all wounds”: You can learn to function and enjoy moments in life without the person or thing that you lost, but the wound doesn’t completely heal. Healing also suggests that one goes back to the way things were before the event- life doesn’t go back exactly to the way things were. Grief can most certainly soften and decrease over time, with less tears and more joy. That can happen! But that doesn’t mean that sadness or tears never happen.
What are some misconceptions you've discovered about grieving? Any pieces of advice that have rubbed you the wrong way? 

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