Not Everyone Grieves The Same

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People are wildly different from one another, both in terms of natural temperament and culture, so why is there the expectation that grief should elicit the same thoughts, emotions, and behaviors out of everyone and that any deviation from this sameness is a sign that something is wrong? It’s a classic case of the tyranny of the shoulds, of the largely unspoken but still very powerful rules for how we’re supposed to be.

But trying to conform to an idea in your head of how your grief should be adds an extra layer of suffering to what you’re going through. You either conform to this idea and then feel bad on some level for being inauthentic, for ignoring what is really there, or you don’t conform to your idea and feel bad on some level for being abnormal, for not experiencing grief the way you should be experiencing it.

The truth is that some people are afraid to confront their powerful feelings while others are afraid these powerful feelings won’t be there. Both perspectives are a hindrance because they place an expectation before the fact and a value judgment after it, obscuring what is actually there.

If you do open yourself up to what is in front of you without expectation or judgment, allowing yourself to feel how you are feeling, then you’ll be grieving correctly regardless of the quality of your thoughts and emotions. As long as you don’t force something that’s not there or ignore something that is there you’re on the right path and you’re giving yourself the chance to move through your grief in a healthy way.