Sadly, most people give into the common myths about grieving. Below I’m going to list all the common myths about grieving, and how to effectively navigate the grieving process.
Myth #1: You have to be “okay” for people around you.
People always ask the question “how are you doing” during your time of grief. The initial response of many is to tell them that “I’m are okay”. We know they are just being polite, and we don’t want to bother them with how we really feel.
However, there is a point where we need to open up to those closet to us in order to freely express our emotions. If we continue to hold back how we truly feel just for the sake of others, then we can expect that our emotional state will continue to worsen. The best way to bust this myth is to understand that it’s okay to not be okay.
Myth #2: Having strong emotions while grieving means you're going crazy.
There are many emotions that everyone will experience during the grieving process. It is important to understand that it is a normal part of the trying to cope with your grief. These are not signs of you going crazy, but rather a normal process that everyone goes through.
Everyone’s journey through grieving looks a lot different as well. You can actually experience stronger emotions than others just depending on your relationship with the loved one, based on personality, and other additional factors. Just know that if your facing heavy waves of anger, confusion, and depression that it is normal. Just make sure you are surrounded by family and friends, even consider joining a support group, or think about receiving professional help if it becomes too much to bare.
Myth #3: It’s time to move on.
This is normally not said out loud, but it is slowly forced on us to move on. Usually when we first lose our loved one many people reach out, and we get together off work to be around family until the day of the funeral. Sadly, after the funeral it seems like we are being forced to slowly move on with our lives.
Don’t give into this pressure to move on at all. The healthier way to look at the situation is to move forward with them continually in our hearts. The grieving process takes time, and that time is unique to every individual. Even when you have to return to the real world, just remember to take your time and freely express how you feel with others. Don’t move on, but move forward with them in your heart everyday.
Myth #4: Grief follows a chronological order of stages.
The typical understanding of the grieving process was developed by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book “On Death and Dying”. In Dr. Kubler-Ross’s book she observed and described five stages of grief that people that were terminally ill experienced during the final weeks of life. These five stages were denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
Today we experience these same emotions while we grieve the loss of a loved one. The misconception many people have is that these stages follow a certain order all the way to the end. However, what typically occurs is that we will experience these emotions interchangeably. Meaning that even when you reach depression you can still feel angry and vice verse. Just understand that when you’re grieving that you can’t treat each stage like a check list. Make your main focus on expressing these emotions, however they may hit you, in a healthy way.
Myth #5: Acceptance means that you are completely better.
The last stage in the grieving process is acceptance. Many people take that as though they will never experience any more emotional distress. Unfortunately, that at isn’t exactly the case.
Acceptance isn’t saying that it’s okay that my spouse has died, rather accepting that they have passed and coming to terms with this new reality. In this stage emotions begin to stabilize, but there will still be bad days ahead.
Every holiday, birthday, and anniversary will still be hard to face. You’ll just have days out of the blue where you miss them so much that it overwhelms you. All of this is normal to experience, even in acceptance. Begin to expect the bad days that will come, and adjust to that in a healthy way. Lean on close friends and family, and take some time to cherish the memories you have had with them. This is the healthiest way to live in acceptance.