When loss hits, we feel vulnerable. This is natural and common, but uncomfortable. Life feels shaky, even scary now.
From the Grieving Heart:
Relationships are turning out to be more complicated than I thought.
I've concluded that most people don't know what to do with grief. Or maybe it's just me and the way I'm grieving.
I was accosted by a couple of advice-givers yesterday. They told me what I should be doing, how, and who with. Then they wished me well and disappeared. An emotional hit-and-run. I stood there, stunned. Then I went to my car and cried.
To top it all off, neither of these people have experienced a significant loss in their lives.
Why can't people accept where I am and simply be kind? Don't bludgeon me with words. Be with me where I am. See me. Listen to my heart.
I'm hurting. I feel vulnerable. My emotions are all over the place. I could use a few kind people who happen to be great listeners.
I need to talk about you. I miss you terribly.
The world is full of fixers
Our world is full of fixers. These folks are on a mission to evaluate others and correct whatever they determine is wrong or lacking. Fixers often walk away feeling like they've done their part, while the recipient of their suggestions feels criticized, judged, or even attacked.
"You should," "You must," and "You need to..." are key phrases in their repertoire. Most fixers are far more willing to help others tackle their issues rather than deal with their own. In many cases, their attempts to fix our grief is a signal that they’re trying to run from theirs.
We need people who will simply be with us, where we are, as we are. We need kind and safe people to show up, look us in the eye, and listen. It's their presence that's most valuable, not their words.
It's worth remembering that what others say to us is far more about them than about us. They're unconsciously expressing how they feel about how they perceive we're doing. If possible, limiting our exposure to fixers is important.
Some will try to fix me and my grief. I will remember that their words are usually more about them than about me.
Adapted from Comfort for Grieving Hearts: Hope and Encouragement for Times of Loss. To watch a brief 1-minute video about the book, click here.