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Oh good, it’s grief. There isn’t something fundamentally wrong with me.

Grief is a tiny word to express a really big experience that we all go through when we’ve lost something important in our lives. Everyone knows this, but it can be tricky, because everyone feels, understands and expresses grief in unique ways, shaped by our individual perspectives and lived experience. We tend to have preconceived ideas of what grief is supposed to look like, causing challenge to recognize it within our own experience, and especially, in real time. Further, we tend to limit our perception of grief to big, traumatic events related to physical loss, missing all the many ways it impacts our daily life.


In all grief, we are undergoing a loss of innocence; a death of the version of self which did not know the loss experience, or our own response to it. In reality, we are not actually healing our grief, but reaffirming our humanity, tending the emotional wounds which appear by affect of change, and building the strength required to carry new grief. Understanding this will aid in our ability to observe our unique, natural responses to grief. By reducing any shame or guilt surrounding these responses, we may develop an appropriate system of internal care-giving, and tend to our own real needs rather than judge, dismiss or project. This is an ongoing and continual practice of meeting our selves throughout our lifetime.


When we recognize grief within us, we may understand that grief is not simply an isolated experience, but a complex reality of self. Every moment of grief we face, will remain with us for the entirety of our life, whether we acknowledge it or not. That may sound grim, but really this means that behind our greatest fears, our shame, guilt, and loathing, are aspects of self that remember, and are trying to protect us from further grief. Our own internal madness, the thoughts and feelings we’ve named bad, wrong, unlovable, stupid, crazy, lazy or worse, are in fact, our greatest teachers. For beneath each one hides a loving protector, calling out to be heard, and usually in need of some comfort and kindness.


Knowing this does not change the courage required to take action, or prevent the pain which inherently comes with transition. Internal care-giving does not eliminate our need for support and community, but serves as a tool to communicate our needs kindly to self and to others. When we provide our self the right kind of care in the moment, we feel when and how it is safe to grieve, and learn to live in accordance with our whole and loving self. With time and compassion we find trust in our ability to navigate any change. Remember, there is no loss too trivial, or change too positive to go through this experience. So, before you judge yourself as wrong or wicked, look first in the depths for good grief.






   

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