Coping with grief

6 Practices Your Grief Needs From You

Coping With Grief: What Grief Asks From Us

Losing someone or something precious can feel totally devastating. Grief is love’s painful buddy – when we care deeply, loss brings real sorrow. Learning healthy ways to deal with grief makes a big difference as we get used to a new normal missing someone or something special.

Grief is as one-of-a-kind as your fingerprint. There’s no “right” schedule or single roadmap through grief’s tricky terrain. As you are coping with grief, be patient with yourself and others. 

Kim Brown is a certified betrayal trauma coach at Choose Recovery Services. She specializes in guiding people through sorrow’s passage. Kim is a certified grief educator and an APSATS candidate. She outlines six core needs grief asks from us as we make sense of loss or betrayal. Paying attention to grief helps us take good care of ourselves or support others who are similarly weathering sadness’ storms.

Grief Needs To Be Seen & Heard

When someone you care about dies or you go through another big loss or betrayal, deep grief comes knocking. The first thing grief asks for is witnessing. This means really seeing and accepting where you’re at emotionally. As you see grief for what it is, resist the urge to try to step in and fix, explain, or brush aside your pain.

Sometimes others will try to make our grief go away. Our family and friends usually mean well, but may hurt more than help by saying stuff meant to cheer us up fast. Comments like “they’re in a better place” or “at least you have more time for yourself now” dismiss the awfulness of what we’re going through. Grief first just wants a listening ear to bear witness without judgment.

Letting ourselves fully feel and share grief in a safe space starts untangling its knots. Having a witness for whatever comes up – anger, terrible sadness, guilt over the past – makes grief flow instead of getting stuck. It’s about being seen and heard for all those messy reactions that come with loss. Sometimes the best medicine is just having someone listen closely without trying to fix what can’t be fixed just yet. Being witnessed helps grieving souls feel less alone.

Emotions From Grief Need To Be Voiced

Grieving isn’t just in our head – it’s something we feel deeply in our body and heart. But talking over and over about a loss often keeps us stuck in our heads without reaching those deeper places. Real healing from grief asks us to get in touch with actual emotions beneath the surface.

We can describe situations and tell stories about what happened forever. But until we truly access and give language to the sensations coursing through our body – anger burning hot, sadness weighing heavy, regret knotting the gut – grief will maintain its hold. Leaning into our physical feelings allows them to start loosening up.

Expressing emotions through crying, writing, art, and talking to supportive listeners keeps grief flowing healthily. Bottling them up gets us stuck in mental circles. Giving grief’s feelings some breathing room helps us better understand ourselves. Bit by bit, opening up to and releasing those complex feelings clears space inside for grief’s load to lighten in time. Think of it like giving grief permission to leave once its feelings get expressed and seen. Allowing our grief to flow in us and through us is one of the best ways to help us as we are coping with grief.

Grief Needs Us To Let Go of Guilt

When something bad happens, guilt often arrives as grief’s ugly stepsister. Thoughts snowball about how you could have prevented a loss or betrayal. We may agonize over and over again about mistakes you and others made. Self-blame only piles on extra weight to an already excruciating process.

The “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” linked to betrayal trauma can boomerang back for months. Should-ing all over ourselves delays acceptance. To properly grieve any loss or change, we must learn self-forgiveness too.

Start by questioning whether self-blame helps anything. Understanding lessons in hindsight lets us apply wisdom down the road. Further self-punishment just keeps reopened wounds from a peaceful closure that grieving needs. Treat yourself as compassionately as you would a caring friend in the same boat. Making room to release guilt lets us put full energy into minding grief’s other needs first. 

Grief Needs Us To Work Through Old Hurts

Like out-of-control dominoes toppling, fresh grieving often revives old buried hurts demanding attention next. Our grief now can mirror and amplify earlier heart-wrenching chapters of our life story. Fresh wounds have a way of reopening old scars.

Childhood letdowns, betrayals, abandoned dreams, wrong turns – you name it – rear their heads when new loss reopens the storage room of sadness. We avoid facing this old stuff until a recent tragedy kicks the locked door wide open and all our hurts demand attention.

The bright side is each difficult loss lays groundwork for washing away unseen baggage buried long ago. Grief grows wisdom through suffering – but only if we lean into old and new sorrows bravely. Letting go, we gain strength and wholeness that eluded us for years unconsciously. Healing hidden holes one at a time, we can heal little by little. Grief can become a teacher and a healer if we learn from it.

Grief Needs Us To Integrate It Into Our Life

Like house guests who overstay their welcome, grief hangs around much longer than we expect or invite it to. We wish it would pack up and leave already when the tears spring up out of nowhere months later. Slowly, gradually, we realize grief doesn’t follow the rules – it has its own timeline.

We want to shove it forcefully to the side, to move forward with life and not let it hold us back anymore. But banishing grief takes huge energy without ever quite working. Tidying grief out of sight only lets it pile up messily in the dark. Ignoring grief means tripping over it for years at odd moments instead.

Grieving loss or betrayal hurts terribly. Making space for grief when it returns allows us to heal at our own pace. Finding small comforts and meaning after trauma or change takes baby steps. Only by embracing the process within the process can we make uneasy peace with sorrow. It becomes less of an unwanted guest and more an occasional visitor dropping wisdom off from time to time. As you learn to integrate grief into your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and life, you will be able to learn and heal. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fast, but healing is possible.

Grief Needs Us to Accept It Over and Over

It’s tempting to want grieving to follow clear steps from raging pain towards peaceful acceptance. We expect gradual relief like climbing a mountain to reach closure up top. But in reality the path twists out of view for miles. We may end up circling the same path time and time again without realizing we’re not making progress toward our goal.

Rocky stretches of confusion reappear after smooth straightaways lull us into thinking we’ve got this grief thing handled finally. Emotions spike and recede randomly – less a staircase and more a tireless game of snakes and ladders. Just when we find moments of meaning wham – fresh waves of regret, anger or sadness ambush us.

Being at peace with a loss or betrayal often means revisiting the pain many times. We shouldn’t fight this fundamental truth: Grieving asks us not for one big fixed moment of closure but small opennesses each day moving forward wherever we’re at. By embracing impermanence, we find steadiness through it all.

Help Yourself and Others Along Grief’s Journey

Remember grief answers to no schedule but your own – embrace its messy, nonlinear process. Support others without judgment wherever they’re at with empathy and deep listening. Allow all feelings without correcting, explaining or fixing.

Make space for the seasons in your life where these emotions tend to rear their ugly heads. Let go of shame, guilt, or comparisons around where you “should” be grieving-wise. There’s no single roadmap – meet yourself and others with compassion. Trust grief’s passage has gifts awaiting you in its own time if handled gently. You’ll grow through this painful trip in ways that may surprise you later.

If you find yourself stuck on your path to healing, consider reaching out to one of our many certified coaches at Choose Recovery Services. Our team can help move you forward as you’re coping with grief, trauma, loss, and betrayal. You can feel better as you progress through your journey, and you don’t have to do it alone.

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