What does grief mean to you? Is it that you lost someone you love and you feel grief that they are not there with you? Or are you grieving because you lost the job that you deeply loved that you are no longer in? Are you diagnosed with some kind of illness and you’re grieving because you lost hope?
There are different types of grief that a person may be experiencing. But I see a lot of people focusing on grief as if it is related only to the death of a loved one, but it is not. You first need to understand what grief is all about before you look for ways to overcome it.
By definition, grief means “intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” Someone’s death was just used as an example here. So, grief generally means intense sorrow that can take place in your life because you have lost something/someone very precious to you.
We usually associate grief with how we feel by the “death” of a person we loved rather than their “absence”. It is not always that a person grieves because of the death of a loved one. It can be because that person is no longer in their life due to a divorce, a break up, or even a friend who is not the way they used to be.
Anything that is causing you intense sorrow means that you are grieving. You need to be totally aware of this before trying to overcome grief.
Stages of Grief
Some of you may have come across or at least heard about the stages that a person goes through to process grief. But the thing about these stages is that they need not be in the order that it shows. Sometimes people get to experience it in a different way.
The main thing is that you should be aware of the understanding of these stages so you become familiar with which stage you currently are in.
Let us have a look at the different stages of grief.
Shock and/or Denial
This is the phase where you refuse to accept or believe that the person is no longer in your life or you are no longer living the life that you want. In most cases, you may even feel numb and not even have the ability to process the situation.
Examples of phrases in this stage include, “What are you talking about? She is going to be home any minute now.”, “Doctor, I don’t believe your results are true. This can’t be right. I am a healthy person who gets constant headaches. That’s it!”, or “They are never going to let me go. I did a lot for this company and they can not continue without me.”
The minute you come back to your sense and believe that this really happened, you will start to experience anger or rage directed towards the person who is no longer in your life, yourself, or even the person that had indirect impact that is responsible for this loss and how your life became this way.
Examples of phrases in this stage include, “He is going to regret leaving me and I pray that he gets hurt one way or another!”, “If he listened to me this wouldn’t have happened to him. He could’ve still been with us. It is his fault.”, or “Even after being close to God and all the prayers I prayed to Him, how can He let this happen? How can He let this illness take over?”
This is where you start making the ‘If only’ or ‘what if’ statements trying to bargain with yourself or God to try and regain the control of the outcome. With this, you are trying to negotiate with yourself and tell yourself all the possible ways that things would have been better. Also you are trying to postpone how confused and hurt this sadness is causing you.
Examples of phrases in this stage include, “If only I quit my job for him, he could’ve still stayed in my life.”, “What if I agreed to what my boss said? I would still have my job.”, or “If only I didn’t share how I was feeling that day which made her want to come over and check on me, she would still be with us.”
This is when you embrace the fact that the hurtful situation happened and isolate yourself to process it in your own way. If you are in this stage, you may start to feel heavy or confused of how and why this happened.
The toughest part of experiencing grief is this part as you may find yourself stuck here for quite some time. This is stage that a person should realize that he/she needs help to get better and overcome this grief they are feeling.
Examples of phrases in this stage include, “What am I going to do without him/her?”, “I am never gonna get over this.”, “Why even try to go on at all?”, or “I don’t know how/where to go from here.”
Related Post: Am I depressed or just sad?
This is (in most cases) the final stage. This is the part where you accept what happened and try to find a path to continue your life on. It doesn’t mean you have move past the thing/person you have lost. It just means that you have accepted and come in peace with the fact that they are no longer in your life.
Examples of phrases in this stage include, “Breaking up with him was the best option I had.”, “I am going to die anyways so I will try and make my last days/months count by making sure I do what I want with who I want.”, “I may have lost him but he will always be in my heart and memories.”, or “I will find a way to stand back up and start moving forward from here.”
How to deal with grief?
Now that you have come to understand the different stages of grief, the next thing you might be wondering about is how can you deal with it and overcome it with time. But before you get to answer this question, there is something you need to understand.
Grief is a process, not some kind of task you need to get done. You can’t just ‘do’ something and walaaa…you get over your grief. No matter what you try to do, if you treat grief as a task, you will never get over it. This is why I said ‘different stages’ not ‘different steps’.
There is a huge difference between stages and steps. Steps are to be followed in a linear manner just like the ladder. You need to walk up the ladder step by step to reach the top (your desired destination). You can’t reach the fourth step without going through the second and third step. Stages, on the other hand, are more like phases. They don’t have to be accomplished in a linear manner. You may skip a phase but can get things done as needed.
When it comes to grieving, the feeling is more like a roller coaster. One day you feel fine and the other day you feel overwhelmed and later you feel maybe somehow numb. So there is no linearity of how or what you should be feeling.
With this in mind, you can now look into the following tips with a different perspective and expectation. What I am sharing with you are the tips to help you heal this feeling with time.
This is an IGTV that I shared on my Instagram where I talk about what you need to do to overcome grief.
Like you saw in this video, there is no secret recipe to getting over grief. Here is what I believe you should do.
Acknowledge the fact that you are grieving
Understand that you are allowed to feel pain and process the emotion so you can work on overcoming it. If you suppress how you feel, you will never get over it.
Talk to someone about how you feel
You will never be able to overcome any thing alone. In fact, you shouldn’t try to be alone. Talk to someone you trust; whether it is a friend or a family member.
If you don’t have someone you can rely on and share your experience with, try contacting someone who has overcome a similar loss and is in a better place of peace than you are today. They can help you get over this intense feeling and at the same time guide you through their foot steps.
If no such person exists in your life or you are not able to get response or contact any such person on social media, then I would recommend you talk to a grief counselor or even a grief coach. They will have all the techniques and experience to deal with your case and help you out in the best possible way.
A message to every person who knows someone who is grieving
Nowadays, it is very common that people refuse to listen to someone’s pain. Especially if it is redundant and filled with negative emotions. They just don’t want the person to eat their head or disrupt their peace.
The problem is that people started to choose the kind of stories they want to hear from a person. The minute the person starts sharing about how they feel about something, 8 times out of 10, people block them by trying to change the subject or try to turn the story and make it about them instead (yeah, it’s that bad!).
If you do this to a person who is grieving, you are pushing them to a point of no return. There are times when they feel like they need to talk to someone so they can distract themselves from how they feel at the moment.
When you block them, they feel a crack of disappointment and start missing this person they lost because of how he/she made them feel better than you do. They would wish to be with them and not in this place. This is something we all should be careful about.
When I was experiencing grief and the loss of someone (not death, but a breakup), I was blocked by the closest people to me. They never gave me the attention I need in order to heal from this feeling. All they did was state (more like throw) facts in my face and tell me that it is the best thing that happened because of all what was happening in this relationship.
Whenever I spoke about him, they would say stuff like, “Why do you keep talking about him?”, “You gotta move on Reem. You deserve better.”, etc. This is not what I wanted from them. I wanted someone to listen to me and help me overcome this feeling.
But because of these responses that I found, I stopped talking about him or how I am feeling about this. Notice that I didn’t say I stopped grieving or missing him, I just stopped talking about it.
So my message to you my friend, is to stop blocking someone who is sharing how they feel about losing someone or something with you. Instead of forcing them to let go, ask them to share how they feel and interact with them. That’s all they would want from you and all they truly need.
Losing someone/something is not easy; it will never be either. But you shouldn’t stop your life on the same spot and refuse to continue. Just ask yourself, if the person you lost saw you today, will they be happy for you? Will these actions of yours make them proud?
Learn how to process your grief by any method you see fit. The main thing is you realize in which stage you are in and work your way out of this feeling.
Thank you for reading till the end 🙂
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Have you ever experienced grief? How did you overcome it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.