Good grief! Who came up with that term? Anybody who has experienced grief, or been around somebody experiencing some serious grief, for that matter, knows that grief is not good!! I was reminded this week, however, that grief may not feel good, but if you don’t feel it and let it run its course, it will trip you up!!
Grief is not just about death, it results anytime we experience a loss. Divorce, job loss, physical limitations, kids growing up, etc., and let’s face it – our culture does not teach us how to deal well with loss! That’s problem #1. . . we don’t know how to deal with loss. So when loss strikes, what do we do? We medicate ourselves fast and furiously to avoid the pain. That’s problem #2 . . . we don’t allow ourselves to grieve and heal! Alcohol, diving into work, affairs, food, novels, staying busy all the time – you name it. Our culture supports avoiding grief in its obsession with comfort and instant gratification.
Let me give you an example . . . a lady’s husband leaves her for another woman. Obviously she is in excruciating pain. Pain is bad! Her friends don’t want her to be in pain so what do they do? They comfort her by distracting her. They have entertainment planned for nearly every night of the week. They start setting her up on dates. It seems to be working, because they don’t see her in pain anymore. She’s too busy to be in pain! The problem here is that the focus is on avoiding or killing the pain instead of feeling it and healing!
I can’t tell you how many times I have had clients come in many months out from a break up or divorce. They are over the initial shock. They are convinced it was right or they claim to be “over it”. But when I ask them to do a quick grief exercise, they instantly turn into a puddle of tears! This does not mean the result of the relationship should have been different, but it does mean that they failed to grieve the loss!
Unresolved grief can be very debilitating and can affect you emotionally, mentally, physically, and/or spiritually. If you have avoided your feelings of grief or medicated your way out of a loss, I encourage you to explore the grieving process. If you failed to properly grieve, I can assure you that it is tripping you up in some area of your life. Good grief! Don’t just survive a loss, let grief be your friend, not your enemy!