The only grief that counts is the one about death, right?
All those other times when people say they’re grieving, well, they’re really just attention seeking, right?
What most people don’t realise is there are 40 different kinds of losses that can cause the difficult and intense feelings associated with grief.
And every one is valid.
But it’s widely assumed that grief is only ever caused by someone close to you dying. Even if we haven’t experienced bereavement ourselves, we’re aware it’s associated with a lot of emotional pain.
Who doesn’t know a person who’s lost a parent or a sibling, and hasn’t been themselves for a period of time?
Or heard of a bereaved teenager going off the rails?
So, if bereavement is the life event we only really associate with grief then it must be the only one that counts.
Lost your job? Get up and apply for another! Aren’t you wallowing in self-pity?
But you wanted to get divorced! You said you couldn’t live in your marriage anymore! How can you be grieving when it’s YOU who wanted out? (Comments like that can be so hurtful, can’t they?)
But here’s the thing. Regardless of whether something happened to you or you instigated the significant change, grief is about loss.
Acknowledging there are 40 life events that can cause the feelings associated with grief is essential if we’re to recognise that difficult emotions like confusion, sadness or a sense of hopelessness, is actually a thing.
It’s not just you having an off day. It’s grief.
Divorce is one life event.
Redundancy is another.
Having your world turned upside down so you’re looking at a very different future can be extremely destabilising. Being forced to sell your marital home, or not going to the workplace you’ve known for the last ten years, can be incredibly painful. You may feel overwhelming sadness or experience a severe yearning for what once was. You may be prone to sudden crying or angry outbursts.
You may feel your heart has been broken.
What if you’ve been injured and you can’t move about the way you once did? Or you’ve a debilitating illness? Or your child leaves home for college or university? Or you’ve retired and your days are now open-ended and filled with little or no purpose?
All these events bring a change in circumstance. Planned or unplanned, predicted or unpredicted, they can all be traumatic.
Significant loss is, well, significant loss.
Grief is a normal response to a significant change. It’s completely natural. Grief doesn’t decide one person will feel this and another will feel that. There may be a difference in how intensely you feel these emotions, but if you feel them, you feel them.
There’s no hierarchy of feelings. And there is no hierarchy of situations.
Everyone’s grief is unique and everyone’s emotions are valid. Having your heart broken and longing for what was is what counts.
Even if losing your job forces you to discover what you really want out of life and presents a silver lining in terms of your career.
Or a divorce is actually the best solution to meet your needs and health in the long-term.
You can still grieve for what was and be anxious about not knowing what your future holds now.
In other words, the emotions of grief and the intense pain they carry, are common to all.
So, if someone you love has died, or you’ve been through a divorce or redundancy and you’re struggling to cope, let The Grief Recovery Method® help you. It’s the only evidence-based programme giving you the tools to move on in your life following a significant emotional loss.
For more information about the One-to-One programmes available, please click here.