Day fifteen of the 20/20 success story – grief is healthy

Grief is inevitable as we live our lives. As I may say to my clients, the longer you shall live, the more grief you shall experience. But sometimes, perhaps all too often, there are people who strive to avoid their grief. Deny it. Think they must suppress it. Or take substances to dampen grief’s physical symptoms. Dealing with grief in this manner is not healthy.

Given grief is unavoidable as a lived experience, my assertion is that to grieve at such times of loss is healthy, not to avoid the emotional pain, but to acknowledge it, reflect on it, to externalise our feelings and to talk about what we are now missing so dearly. We are most sad because we have lost something or someone we highly valued. Often this is a person, but it can be our special pet, a wild yet glorious animal, a beautiful forest, a work of art, and much more.

Traditional societies and related cultures set aside day(s) to mourn. There is recognition from way back in our evolution that time needs to be set aside to grieve, this being an integral part of healing and subsequent adaptation. To that extent, grieving and experiencing grief as an emotional experience, to be shared or managed privately, is to know that time is required, and a conscious focus on letting our body feel what it must, else we displace our healing, and our physical responses to grief, to an indeterminate future time. So best to deal with grief sooner, when the pain of loss can be shared.

To learn to grieve is to learn resilience, not stoicism. That is no bad thing on the road to a successful life.

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