And the Academy Award for Recovery goes to…

‘No, really….I’m fine!’

With winners in the supporting categories going to:

  • You’re being too emotional
  • Crying is for wimps/babies
  • You need to be strong
  • Why can’t you just “get over it”?

Messages like this confuse us. They teach us to ignore, deny or bury our natural emotions. Until we end up swearing to ourselves (and anyone who’ll listen) that we’re fine. . .really.

But this “fake it til you make” rapid grief recovery never actually works. Instead, the emotions we refuse to acknowledge find other outlets for expression. And it becomes a game of finding new ways to continually numb them when they threaten to break through the surface. We scroll through social media, head to the mall (or online) for retail therapy, drink too much, turn to drugs, work long hours, surrender to every craving, exercise too much, or binge on Netflix (popcorn and wine not optional).

Is it any wonder we struggle to move through our grief journey?

Grief makes us feel vulnerable and out of control. Especially, if we were taught expressions of grief were not welcome. Stories of needing to be strong or “just get over it” only serve to keep us stuck. Instead, what we need to do is face our fears and learn to embrace vulnerability.

Brene Brown says we feel vulnerable in situations that involve uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Grief ticks all those boxes.

Grief is uncertain.

We don’t know what will happen or when. The waves of emotion can catch you completely off guard. They can be triggered by the most mundane things, like hearing a loved one’s favourite song on the radio. Suddenly, we’re acutely reminded of what we’ve lost. Then BAM a tsunami of sadness will stop us in our tracks. Other days we get through with more laughter than tears.

Grief feels risky…

…because of the messages many of us received that said it wasn’t okay to grieve openly. Our displays of grief were met with disapproval, discomfort, and even shaming.

Grief leaves us emotionally exposed…

…because it brings such a WIDE range of emotions. Simultaneously conflicting. Raw. Intense. We can feel anger and relief, sorrow and joy all in the same moment. So we turn to social media, online shopping, or yet another bottle of merlot because they feel safer than being vulnerable and exposed in our grief. We all have our favourite methods of numbing. We’re the most obese, medicated, and in debt cohort in human history…WE NUMB. And although these numbing mechanisms may feel good in the moment, it’s important to remember those things can never heal us.

And yet. . .

It doesn’t have to be that way.

In many Middle Eastern and East African nations, public displays of intense emotion (both joy and grief) are welcomed and expected. They ululate loudly at funerals (and weddings). It’s normal to be vocal about your grief and to express it publicly.

The Irish also have a tradition of keening. A loud, public lamentation for the dead. There’s a master keener and her cry summons the other keeners to gather and sing the dying through their final transition.

These traditions of keening and ululating provide such a sense of community. They honour and love the person who has died. They provide an outlet for the expression of grief. And they show us there’s another way.

I want you to know that whatever you’re feeling is normal.

Maybe you cry enough to fill a river. Maybe you never cry a single tear. All your emotions are welcome. The important thing is that you find a way to express them.

It’s time to stop numbing out.

It’s time to tell your story to someone who has earned the right to hear it.

It’s time to find someone who will hold space for you without judgment.

It’s time to ask for what you NEED – to be seen and heard without anyone trying to “fix” you or dismiss/minimize your loss.

If you don’t have that person in your life. . .I would be honoured to hold space for you and walk your grief journey with you.

I have a new workshop on The Grief Recovery Method® coming up this fall. If you’d like to be on the waitlist send me an email at hello at innertravelcoaching dot com and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as the details emerge. You can also read more about The Grief Recovery Method® and why I love it right here.

We can also work together one-on-one with individualized coaching where I bring ALL the tools I have to help you navigate your grief.

Or you can get started today with my online course Do Death Differently where you’ll find coaching wisdom, thought-provoking questions + practices to support you whether you’ve been carrying your grief for years or it’s still fresh.

Your grief is as unique as you are.  But you don’t have to navigate it alone.

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