It’s time to stop focusing so much on yourself.
There is a big difference between self-care and selfishness. Taking care of yourself while you are emotionally fragile is acceptable and necessary! Keep the spotlight on your needs until you reach a more comfortable place on your grief journey.
You need to be strong for everyone else.
The “big boys don’t cry” mentality affects men and women alike. Each person in your circle of influence can and will mourn differently. Each person will find their own sources of strength – in themselves and/or in others. You do not have to be strong – not even for yourself. It is OK to let down, to feel your feelings, and to find the road to strength at the starting line of your weakness.
Your family and friends are getting tired of your tears and sad story.
It is part of our nature to need to tell our story. Whether in a doctor’s waiting room, on an elevator, or in the lobby at a convention – people will exchange stories if given the opportunity. Your tears right now are part of who you are. Your story may be sad to others, but it is your reality. Family and friends may feel awkward about your tears and the retelling of your story, but what is uncomfortable for them is therapeutic for you.
You shouldn’t be angry at God. After all, God loves you!
That fact that God loves you doesn’t prevent you from being angry at God, circumstances, family members, friends, or even the one who died. Unexpressed anger won’t simply fade away. The emotional and physical toll of internalized anger is cumulative and unhealthy. Besides, God is “big enough” to handle our anger toward him.
I think you’re staying too busy, just trying to escape the pain.
What is wrong with some escape from the pain now and then? There is no “rule of mourning” that says you must sit still and allow the pain of grief to overwhelm you. The simple fact of moving and doing something, anything, may help us endure smaller doses of pain in the midst of our busy times.
I think you’re not staying busy enough. You need to get out and get more involved in life.
There is a time and season for everything. In the early days and weeks of mourning, it may be very natural for you to slow down and take things at your own pace. No one can create a blueprint or time-line for your grief. Handle life at your own pace – realizing that when your emotions are ready, you will be more involved with things and others.
You’ll be all right. After all, look at others who have had the same kind of loss.
When will people stop implying that they “know just how you feel” about your loss?! You may consider yourself “all right” in time, but you will never be the same as you used to be. You will experience a “new normal” someday, but the pain of loss is felt in the here and now. AND, nobody else’s loss makes mine any less or theirs any greater. Mourning is not some kind of competitive game!
If you act happy, you will eventually be happy.
You don’t need to attend a “positive thinking rally” to get through your grief. There is enough “wearing of masks” in our society. You should not have to put on a false smile for the public while your heart is crying out in pain! Happiness after a loss is not accomplished with the flip of a switch or from simply pretending to feel the way others want you to feel.
I think you should be spending more time in Bible reading, prayer, and attending church services.
Although many find support and comfort from spiritual activities and resources, no one can prescribe what you should or must do in that realm. Your loss may draw you closer to God and spiritual things, or it may cause you enough concern and confusion that you need to hold those things at arms length for awhile. Find comfort and strength in what you can, when you are ready.
Think of how much worse off others are. Some people have losses much greater than yours.
Who has the right to determine a scale that ranks and compares losses? Your heart may be tender toward someone else in pain, but their journey is not your journey. There is no comfort from someone trying to artificially rank your grief experience at a level lower than another’s.
Just think of all the blessings you do have!
Appreciation of blessings may be relative to your capacity to recognize them. It is not always easy to see beyond the fog of grief to recognize the good things about life and circumstances. The journey of grief often serves as a magnifying glass that focuses your attention on the pain. Someday, it will be easier to see the blessings which have been there all along.
A word about well-intentioned family and friends:
I truly believe that the people closest to us have our best interests in mind, even when they offer advice and instruction that is so difficult to hear. Most inappropriate or hurtful comments arise from the helpless feeling of not knowing what to say to one who is mourning. Since nature doesn’t like a void, the emptiness is often filled with clichés or words of advice which can do more harm than good. Life would be better if we could help family and friends go against the “norms” of society with these admonitions:
Don’t just do something… stand there!
Don’t say anything… just be here with me!
By Danny Mize, Advisory Council member for The Hope & Healing Place
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