There can be positive elements in grief – if you open yourself.
Death of a person – death of an idea – death of a relationship – even death of a hoped-for electoral outcome… One should not get rid of grief or bypass it. Yet what regularly happens, is that a person gets really stuck in grief. Then it lasts long, is extraordinarily painful and doesn’t help. It’s just… grief… like a feeling of depression that got out of hand.
‘Getting stuck in grief’ can take on several guises.
The common factor is that life doesn’t continue as it should. A person gets stuck in a mind frame that after a while, he will not recognize as meaningful. It’s as if he loses a part of himself.
That is precisely the loss that truly hurts. It’s about losing a very important part of yourself.
A symbolic part. Not just a finger or a toe, but a part of what might in certain setting be called the ‘soul’. What died outside you is a symbol of what died inside you.
Well – a symbol doesn’t really die. What happens is: it draws you towards it, in an attempt so to speak, to become fully alive again.
Alive within you. Grief may make you feel fractured, having lost a substantial part. The underlying goal is for you to become whole again. The feeling of grief is the result of a forceful drawing within you toward that goal – like a posttraumatic stress. You are being drawn towards wholeness, but if you get stuck, you risk being drawn further into pieces – quite powerfully.
From grief to growth: what should you do?
It’s a good idea to go back to the time before your grief began. You can do this in imagination. Start the process again and try this time to get above the happening. Try to remain yourself as a whole person. Don’t let a part of you get lost. Don’t lose yourself. The purpose of growth is to become whole and to become stronger – as a whole person. The purpose of grief, if you don’t get stuck in it as just described, is the same: to become whole and to become stronger – as a whole person. Without this inner strength, you become weak. Becoming weak, you may develop a hard shell to protect yourself. Protecting yourself, you become even weaker inside and at the same time, you become a prisoner of your own shell. This way, the world doesn’t become better and neither do you.
It’s better to be gentle, not weak.
It’s better to be strong, not hard.
It’s better to become whole again, not fractured by grief.
As a whole person, your grief may then become fuel for further growth. This is the way of nature.