Do Not Put An Artificial Cap On How Long You Should Grieve

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What happens to a lot of people is that after going through a situation that elicits grief the community around them is at first supportive, willing to listen and empathize, but as the weeks go by this community stops being so empathetic and starts to apply obvious or subtle pressure to move on with life.

What’s important to understand if you’re grieving is that just because the people around you are ready to move on doesn’t mean you need to be ready to move on too. Do not put an artificial cap on how long you should grieve. This is particularly true when the loss in question is more personal to you than to the friends or family members encouraging you to let go. It’s easy for people to let go when they didn’t have much skin in the game in the first place. Easy for them to judge the inability to put the pieces back together when their lives haven’t shattered into a million little pieces.

A major part of the grieving process is vocalization, naming thoughts and feelings and sharing these thoughts and feelings with others. What we usually see in therapy is that clients, when making sense of a difficult past and present, need to have the same basic conversation where they share the same story with different twists, looking at their trauma from different points of view, many times over the course of weeks and months. So while friends and family members might start to feel put out by hearing the same monologue over and over and might show signs of impatience, there’s no particular abnormality in you it’s just that they’re not trained professionals.

Don’t let anybody else pressure you to move on, and don’t pressure yourself to move on. Just follow the simple rule of letting yourself think and feel whatever you’re thinking and feeling without censure or judgment. Otherwise your grief will become unfinished business, it will linger in the periphery because you never adequately confronted it, because you tried to bury it and move on instead of courageously moving through it.