With any loss comes grief; a natural process that is our human way of healing emotionally. But all too often this normal process stalls, gets sidetracked or becomes buried deep inside us. The reason for this could be that person who is grieving doesn’t allow themselves to experience the deep sorrow and sadness that comes with grief or this person’s family, friends or culture doesn’t allow for them to fully express their grief.
My students have often asked me what they should do if a family member or friend is angry with them when they cry or are sad after losing a loved one. I often ask them one question before I answer it “How long has it been since you lost your loved one?”
If they answer that it was recent, then I tell them that this is an unfortunate situation but know that grieving is their human right!!! Just like we don’t need to ask others for permission to laugh and to be happy, we also don’t need to ask others if it’s ok to be sad and express our grief emotions.
Some people can’t allow others to show their emotions because they have a very common limiting belief that crying is a sign of weakness. Therefore, that person should just “man up” and push through! People who have these types of limiting beliefs usually struggle with relationships and often have more anger issues. When they get angry at you for crying, it has nothing to do with you!
You have done nothing wrong and this is a reflection on who they are. They are not comfortable with their own feelings and they are trying to control others to make themselves feel better.
If my students answer that the loss took place a few years ago, then I will remind them that they could be experiencing complicated grief or what I often call stuck in grief. This can happen for two reasons. One, due to many reasons, you didn’t get the chance to grieve. For example, you were taking care of your young children, were busy working, perhaps you were caring for a sick parent. Now, after things have settled down, your grief has started to show up. Two, you are clinging onto the sadness of losing a loved one and don’t want to move forward.
No matter the reason, it is never too late to heal yourself. So give yourself permission to grieve, to cry even if it’s sometimes in public, but also spend time to learn how to heal yourself so you will not be stuck in grief for years!
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Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional!