Overcoming Grief

Overcoming Grief
By Russell Friedman, Grief Recovery Institute

Overcoming Grief: You can’t go over, under, or around it, you must go through it! Our earliest socialization tells us: Don’t Feel Bad, Be Strong, Don’t Burden Others With Your Feelings. Using just those few incorrect ideas, we develop a default position that suggests we shouldn’t feel bad in the first place.

If we’re taught not to feel bad—when feeling bad is the normal and natural reaction to a grief-producing event—it makes it almost impossible for us to access healthy guidance to go through grief, rather than trying to bypass it by going over, under, or around it.

The first thing we must do if we want to deal with our grief effectively, is to allow our grief to exist by acknowledging it, and by communicating openly about it to people with whom we feel safe.

Overcoming Grief And Then Dealing With Unresolved Grief

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind. The range of reactions and emotions in response to grief-producing events is as wide as there are people on the planet. It is said that “Everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace.” We agree.

But experiencing grief, even in our own way and at our own pace, is not the only issue. For example, when someone important to us dies, or when we get divorced, we are always left with some things we wish had been different, better, or more; and with some unrealized hopes, dreams, and expectations about the future.

Those six words:

different
better
more
hopes
dreams
expectations
These are the keywords that can help us discover what was left emotionally incomplete for us as the result of a death, a divorce, or any other loss. We call those unfinished or incomplete things Unresolved Grief.

The Hardest Part About Overcoming Grief Is That We’re Taught That It’s Too Difficult

When we first coined the phrase Grief Recovery more than 30 years ago, many people said, “I didn’t know that recovery from grief was even possible.” In fact, many people believed—and some still believe—that once stricken by grief, it is a permanent condition. That’s just not true.

The actions of the Grief Recovery Method that help grieving people deal with their unresolved grief are very accessible to anyone who’s willing to take those actions. They are relatively easy to do, even though we might think that they are hard because we were never taught they exist or how to do them, and because we may have believed the myth that grief is permanent and recovery is impossible.

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