Updated: Jul 21
Grief is the natural response to loss. The difficulty with defining grief is that everyone experiences grief differently. With grief being an individual experience how we deal with loss differs from person to person.
People commonly associate grief with death however there are many types of loss including loss of physical ability, changing jobs, moving to a new home, and loss of a close friend.
No matter the nature of the loss all grief is valid.
When dealing with grief - it can make the easiest task feel hard to do. You may also notice changes to your body, your feelings, your thoughts, and what you do.
A few of these changes involve thinking about the loss all the time, having difficulty concentrating, shock, anger, headaches, body aches, and weight changes.
Some people have also experienced changes in behavior that range from withdrawal and isolation to staying on the go and keeping busy.
It’s important to remember these changes don’t define you. They are responses to the loss you have endured.
When you look at grief as a whole you’ll see that it’s based on your emotional state and your personal relationship to the loss. Seeing as each person and relationship is unalike their reaction will be unalike as well.
This is apparent when you observe siblings who experienced the same loss. It is common for one sibling to be hurt and upset while another is angry and withdraws. With each relationship being unalike, even in the same family, each reaction to the loss will be unlike too.
It’s also evident in the workplace when multiple employees are laid off. Losing a job can cause grief and even stress to arise. When this occurs some employees may push themselves to find more work, even if that means doing things that make them feel worse just to make ends meet. The other employees may be in shock and disbelief not knowing what to do next after suffering this loss. As you can see, even if they work at the same place, each reaction is still unalike.
Does this entail that one persons emotions are more true than another’s? NO. It simply means each response is unlike another’s, and each person is hurting differently.
There are many reasons that influence such responses such as reactions presented in childhood, the discerned differences of how we think we should react based on gender, coping techniques, and the personal relationship we have to what or who was lost.
A great deal of people are not familiar with the fact that we all respond in our own way. This causes perceptions that others aren’t in as much pain and suffering as we are.
Instead of denying or minimizing others pain, we can learn to accept that each of us hurt and cope in our own personalized way. The greatest thing we can do moving forward is take action to heal.
In order to do this it’s vital to change our mindsets. We must change how we view grief and understand there’s no right or wrong way to respond to it. Our different grieving approaches can be sources of peace within when we chose to heal rather than war with one another.
All in all it takes courage to make these changes, but once you start to take action things become easier and better for everyone. Now that we know grief comes in many varieties and impacts us all differently we can take the steps necessary to not only heal but to also end the stigmas surrounding grief as well.
Remember that you’re not at fault when you experience grief and your response is valid regardless of what it looks like to others.
If you’re having trouble dealing with grief there are resources and support available to help you cope with what you are experiencing. It’s important to reach out and gain insight in order to ease symptoms and work towards recovering.
Written By - Mykayla Nestoryak
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