Understanding Human Emotions Series Part Two; Grief
Last week, we began our look at understanding human emotions with the emotion of fear. Part One; Fear
As stated last time, our emotions are often misunderstood. Our confusion comes because our emotions do not speak in words, they speak in sensations and signals. Our job is to interpret these messages.
Here, in Part Two, we take a look at Grief.
The Purpose of Grief
Loss is always the root of grief. The purpose of grief is to stop you until you recover from the loss. When you’ve truly lost something, especially something that cannot be replaced—a relationship, health, dreams—the only action available is mourning.
Grief does not motivate intense activity. Sorrow is heavy, hard work. Your system gets stalled to force you to cope with your loss. Authentic grief has a strange, terrible sweetness.
How to Mourn
- Find a Place to Grieve. Find privacy and quiet. Allow the grief to pour out—write, cry, sing, dance. If you are worried you will get stuck in the emotion, set aside a designated time of day or predetermined amount of time to feel sad. When the time is up, move into other activities. Repeat until the sadness eventually dissipates.
- Maximize Comforting Activities. Tell someone you trust how you feel. Don’t force yourself to do things, at least for a period of time. If you allow yourself proper nurturing, you will eventually want to resume your responsibilities.
- Accept the ‘As Is’ as Much as Possible. The ‘should bes’ and ‘what ifs’ cause unnecessary suffering.
- Honour the Loss. Be as kind and gentle with yourself as you would another grieving person. Find a way to acknowledge what you experienced, or what you gained, by having what you had. Find something meaningful to memorialize that.
Grief is Unaware of Time
Unprocessed grief is unaware of time. If you’ve experienced a profound loss and did not allow the grieving process, that grief is still there waiting. Sometimes grieving at the time is not possible, but it is eventually necessary. It is completely appropriate to grieve weeks, months and even years after the fact. The same ‘How to Mourn’ principles apply.
Trust You Will Move Forward.
Your grief will not last forever. The more you honour your loss, the easier it will move through. You will, one day, want to move on with your new, altered life. Identify what you’ve lost and allow yourself feel it. Honouring your loss by grieving will eventually lead to healing and a return to joy in living.
Part Three: What to Do With Anger