5. Accept the Reality of What Is (or Was) and Grieve What Is Not and May Never Be
This point may sound like a mouthful, but it is essential. We need to accept the reality of what is true now or was true before a loss is experienced in our circumstances and relationships. Acceptance of reality helps us grieve losses well. Perhaps, we feel sad, angry, or confused because our hopes, dreams, desires, and expectation have not been fulfilled and may never be, particularly with another person. When we continue to put our hope in what we want to be true, we pressure ourselves and others to keep us from experiencing the good God wants for us.
The commonly recited Serenity Prayer reminds us to accept what we cannot change. As challenging as this is, it is an essential component to grieving well.
Choosing acceptance includes facing the reality of who someone/something was or will not be, at least for now. Acceptance includes seeing the truth about good and bad and grieving what you cannot have. Like when an adult grieves the loss of a parent who couldn't or wouldn't provide loving care. Healthy grief acknowledges the loss of love, kindness, or desired change that never came.
6. Acknowledge Losses That Seem Invalid
One especially painful type of grief is losing a relationship with someone still alive. This kind of loss comes through a divorce, through physical and mental health deteriorations, and through relationships that end because of another person’s choice or the need to set healthy limits.
The losses we feel from relationships that die, though the other person is still alive, can seem invalid. Perhaps you’ve been told you should just be grateful. Remember, we can acknowledge what was good, but we must also acknowledge the truth of the loss we feel if we want to grieve well.
Another seemingly invalid loss happens when we make life choices we’re glad about. By making these choices, such as taking a new job or doing courageous things, we lose what was familiar. Losses related to personal growth are still losses.
These are valid reasons for experiencing grief. Acknowledge the grief you feel, even as you smile for the future ahead of you.
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