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Nuanced Grieving

Tuesday April 14, 2020

A lot of us are experiencing grief right now, in different ways.

One of the “leveling-up” lessons within the grieving experience is recognizing that grieving is a nuanced experience. It naturally contains some expression of opposites.

Sentiments of Inexperienced Grieving

  • This is a sad time.
  • If I don’t act sad, people will think I’m not grieving.
  • If I don’t ask others how terrible things are for them, I might disturb their grieving.
  • Nothing is good, nothing is joyful.

This person is going to miss out on the richness and subjective / qualitative healing factors of the grieving process. And unfortunately they may also aggravate suffering or psychological damage in friends, family, or their social group.

Sometimes it is easy to become this person when we are trying to learn how to be a more effective Feeler-Harmonizer. It’s one of the early signs that we are at least giving feelings some due attention. It’s easy in those early days to overshoot the goal.

Sentiments of Nuanced Grieving

  • This is a sad time, but sometimes I may find myself laughing just as much as I cry.
  • If I act sad all the time, I may end up suffering in my inauthenticity. It may make the situation worse.
  • If I share some highlights, joyful things, or even funny things, it may help others who feel they don’t have permission to be happy about something.
  • Some things are sad. Some things are good. Some things give me joy even in the darkest times.

This person is going to be more resilient and balanced in their energy during a time of grieving. They are more likely to learn a variety of high-quality (subjectively powerful and effective) messages through a grieving process. If they are brought into contact with a social group, they will tend to be a healing force.

My wife shared this relevant item with me today: One of the messages of the film Life is Beautiful is that yes, it’s sad—but also, it’s a game. Treat it as a game, the father tells his son. What can we learn from that viewpoint? Does it apply to our current personal context?

After we lost twin daughters many years ago, my wife recalled that she found herself one day laughing at an episode of The Office. This was an early lesson—grieving is going to involve a lot of feelings, some of them seemingly at odds with others.

And in general, if we tell ourselves, “no, it’s deadly serious, it’s never a game, never funny,” exactly what are the dynamics of such a didactic and possibly dogmatic viewpoint? What stressors are at play, and what are the outcomes we can expect? It’s worth the analysis.

(Among other things, in my experience: The dogmatic approach seems to invite the unhealthy version of Trickster archetype into our lives. And it usually puts on quite a show!)

Filed in: Fe /20/ | Control /110/ | Therapeutic Practice /144/ | Feeling /64/

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