Grief: A Unique Experience We all Share
Grief is a unique experience we all share. Grief is unique, because each relationship we have with the people and the things we value in our lives is unique. While we may share similar types of losses, no one can know exactly how you feel about your particular loss.
For some people, grief feels like being swamped by ocean waves that may soften over time but never go away entirely. Others feel for a time like they may be going crazy. Others feel a roller coaster of emotions. Still others feel numb, have a hard time concentrating, have trouble sleeping or sleep too much, or have changes in their eating habits. Loss of self-worth and self-esteem is common after a job loss. Loss of trust or faith also can accompany a loss.
According to Ruth Davis Konigsberg’s survey of the scientific literature on grief, The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stages and the New Science of Loss, researchers “haven’t come up with a universal description of grief (and in all likelihood never will)” (Konigsberg, 2011, p. 15). That is because grief is both universal and unique.
While grief is a normal and natural part of life, we are not well equipped to deal with it. Our culture’s (in the U.S.) response to loss is primarily intellectual and discourages us from dealing openly with its emotional impact. The intense emotions are uncomfortable, and friends and family may not know what to say to someone who has experienced a loss. Thus, people who are grieving are encouraged to not feel bad, quickly replace the loss, grieve alone, give it time, be strong for others and/or keep busy. These strategies may help the people around grievers feel better, but they do nothing for those who are grieving, except to isolate them and encourage them to suppress their feelings.
More often than not, grievers just want to be heard and to share memories and their feelings, without comparison, judgment, well-meaning platitudes or unsolicited advice. The Grief Recovery Method®, Grief Recovery Support Groups or Grief Recovery One-on-One Programs offer grievers the opportunity to be heard in a safe, confidential, accepting environment and to learn a new way to deal with grief. Remember, it is never too soon to begin your recovery.
Konigsberg, R.D. 2011. The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stages and the New Science of Loss. Simon & Schuster. New York, N.Y.
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