I was having a conversation with one of my co-workers today about society’s problem with grief; how we hate to express our emotions when something’s got us feeling down, when life doesn’t go our way, when we suffer job loss, rejection, or when the inevitable – death, happens.
Society has an unspoken beef with grief. We don’t like it and probably never will. But it’s something that is unavoidable, real, and simply cannot be ignored. Why is it that grief is the one part of being “human” we want to throw away? We tend to hate crying in front of others because it shows “weakness”.
Why is it that flaunting the Louis, Gucci, Prada on the gram doesn’t scream “I want attention”, but expressing what’s REALLY going on, does? When real life happens, you’re ridiculed for showing that shit actually does happen. Sometimes bad shit, and that’s okay, because at the end of the day, we all go through…shit. And we often apologize for our feelings of sadness, anger, fear and frustration. But why?
Society has programmed me to believe that if I’m vulnerable about my real life experiences, then I must want attention, or I must want people to feel sorry for me, and to assure me that everything will be okay.
This week my family received a phone call that immediately changed our lives. My cousin was killed in a car accident. The nicest person I’ve ever met in my entire life, the most dependable and reliable family member we had, instantly lost his life when his vehicle collided with a school bus. And hearing that news unequivocally wrenched my heart. I can’t believe it.
I decided to write this post because I’m currently grieving. I’m experiencing real pain, and every ounce of my being has been trying my best to ignore that pain.
But I realized that I don’t know how to grieve, as many of us don’t, when tragedy occurs, as this is my first tragic loss. But I wanted to do two things:
1.Encourage you to grieve when you need to; right in that moment, let it out. No matter the situation, regardless of backlash you may receive from people around you. Beloved, you must grieve.
2. I want to give you all a few tips on what you can do when faced with the trials, tribulations and difficulties of life that seem almost impossible to overcome:
- Talk it out. This seems like the worst advice ever because you typically don’t feel like saying anything when dealing with pain. But, I assure you that whether you’re talking to yourself, your best friend, or God, the release will be therapeutic. Your thoughts can eat you alive. Let it out.
- Don’t ever hold back your tears. Cry the atlantic ocean if you have to. It doesn’t ever mean you’re weak, but shows the strength of your ability to fully accept your humanity. Carry some tissue, step out of the office if you have to, go to the bathroom, and cry. Release those toxins. Free yourself.
- Write your thoughts down when they come to you if you can make sense of them. Keep a journal of your struggles, losses, and tough experiences. Embrace those raw feelings. You never know, you might look back and be able to turn all of those thoughts into a #1 New York Times bestseller (TJ Maxx is the best resource for journals between $2.99-$6.99).
- Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve. If you need to kick and scream, you kick and scream. (I’m not encouraging violence, but it’s okay to go to your room and let loose). If you need the best chocolate-y fudge ice cream you can find, Ben&Jerry’s got you!
- Listen to podcasts. This is has been seriously saving all of sanity this week. There are podcasts for EVERYTHING. Pop culture, politics, sports, food, and much more. Whatever you like, there’s a podcast for it. And for the most part, they’re positive, uplifting, and hilarious. Of course, laughter is the best medicine.
These are just a few, and if I discover more mechanisms, I’ll be sure to add them to the list. This is just how I’m coping right now, and I hope this provided some relief to anyone going through anything that may be damaging, discouraging, or disheartening.
It’s important for us to squash the beef with our grief, embrace it with open arms, in order to ultimately grow into strong human beings we were created to be.