Myths about Grief
The Grief Recovery Method® Institute has identified six major myths about grief that are so close to universal that nearly everyone can relate to them. Most of us realize we’ve been influenced by them all our lives but haven’t taken a critical look to see if they’re actually helpful in our healing journey.
MYTH #1: DON’T FEEL BAD
Even though grief and all of the emotions associated with it are normal and natural, we have been told many times to not feel the way we feel. Feeling bad is a normal response to loss and it is important that we give ourselves permission to feel the full range of our emotions without the need to cover them up or bury them. You have every reason in the world to feel bad if you’ve experienced loss of any kind.
MYTH #2: REPLACE THE LOSS
Relationships with our family members, spouses, children, friends, and even our beloved pets are not replaceable or interchangeable. We cannot simply replace the loss by getting remarried, having more children, making new friends, or buying a new pet. It is important that you create space for yourself to grieve and complete the relationship that ended, in order to move forward in the healthiest way possible.
MYTH #3: GRIEVE ALONE
Many grieving people tend to isolate based on the false idea that “you don’t want to burden others with your feelings.” The most profound truth is that when we get good news, we want to share it with the people in our lives. The same is true when we receive bad news; the first instinct is to tell someone. Communicating the truth about how you feel is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself when you’re grieving.
MYTH #4: TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS
After a loss we often hear things like, “it just takes time” or “time will heal”. These statements give us the false illusion that all we have to do is wait and eventually things will be better. We have met people who have waited 50 years for their pain to go away and 50 years still wasn’t enough. The truth is, time in and of itself does not heal your emotional pain, it is the action you take within time that does.
MYTH #6: KEEP BUSY
After a loss, we are often told “just keep busy”. The idea is, if we can distract ourselves in a whirlwind of activity, another day will have passed since the loss, and time can do its job and heal our pain. This often leads to physical and emotional exhaustion and only helps to avoid and skirt our grief. To truly heal from loss, you must be willing to go through the pain in order to move beyond it.
MYTH #5: BE STRONG FOR OTHERS
When we’re grieving, we tend to hide and minimize our painful emotions with the hope that it will provide strength to those around us. The problem of acting strong is that it unintentionally sends a message to others that they too have to be strong. The most helpful thing you can do for others is to be honest. By telling the truth about how you feel, you give permission to others to do the same.