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Grief: The Final Healing

The last emotion in Healing Through the Dark Emotions is grief. Grief is one of the most complicated emotions, as it encompasses many other emotions, often at the same time. We may feel anger, sadness, despair, fear, stress, disappointment, blame, resentment, contempt, guilt, or any combination of emotions. Regardless, grief is vastly unpleasant, and may feel unbearable.

Picasso’s Guernica

Grief varies from culture to culture, but every culture has a set of rituals, beliefs, and ideas about grief, including how one should grieve and how long it should take. In the U.S. we tend to carry the view that grief should be short-lived so that people return quickly to their former lives.

Anyone who has experienced grief can see that it is not always that simple. But should it be?

The answer is: No. Actually, grief is terribly important. The premise of HTtDE is that we achieve growth through our emotions, particularly the “dark” unpleasant ones. Not only is grief no exception to this, but it serves a crucial and unique function.

When we lose a person, a job, a marriage, or home, we encounter grief. We feel a loss of who we were or thought we were. That person has in a way “died.” Grief is the process we use to separate ourselves from that former person, as well as the person, thing, or ideal that we have lost. In short, grief allows us to live. Without grief, we cannot continue with our lives as they actually are, because we cannot separate ourselves from what we have lost- we become them, and die with them.

As you can imagine, this process takes quite a lot of time to complete. It also explains all of the emotions we may experience. Hiding from these emotions, from the grief, is to simply continue with a shell, with a shadow of ourselves as we truly are and as we could be.

So, we learn to sit with grief. Sit with it from the beginning, before it grows. What grief requires is experience, expression, and time. Much like the other dark emotions, grief requires our attention. It is only by giving it it’s due attention that we move through it and grow. Therefore, grieve. Take the time to feel it, experience it. Use the time to take care of you, assess yourself and your needs. Reconnect with yourself so that you can move forward.

If you feel that talking through your experience in counseling will help, by all means, do so. However, do not think that because you go to counseling that your grief is wrong or some sort of insanity or pathology. It is a difficult time and a time where you may want some support, but you have every right to and should grieve. Take the time because it is yours.

Until next time,
Carrie

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