Grief is a difficult experience, which makes it a difficult subject. However, it’s important for society to talk openly about grief and its intricacies. Avoiding the subject leads to common myths and misconceptions that can harm or discourage those who are grieving. If you believe you’re supposed to feel or act a certain way while mourning the loss of a loved one, failing to meet those expectations can make your grief even more devastating. Learning the truth about grief makes it easier to accept your unique grieving process and seek help for yourself. You can start with these common misconceptions about grief to dispel.
Grief Works in Clear Stages
This misconception comes from the various models of grief—such as Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief—that help us better understand the grieving experience. Many people find comfort in the idea that grief is a linear, multi-step process that they can work through. Unfortunately, that’s not how grief operates for most people. Everyone has their own grieving process that doesn’t always make sense. While models of grief can help you identify and process certain emotions, there are no hard and fast rules about how you should grieve. Letting go of this misconception allows you to accept and work through each unique manifestation of grief as it comes.
If You Don’t Show Grief, You’re Not Grieving
Many people equate grief to obvious symptoms, such as crying or getting angry. However, just as every grieving process is unique, so are the reactions that come with it. Signs of grief aren’t always clear or obvious. Some people are embarrassed to show grief and prefer to process their emotions in private. Alternatively, someone might feel too stressed with funeral plans and other responsibilities to let their grief show when they’re with others. While people should let themselves grieve, a lack of outward emotions doesn't mean they aren’t grieving. When you remember that everyone processes their emotions differently, you can better help others through their unique grieving process.
Ignoring Grief Makes It Go Away
Of course, some people don’t show their grief because they’re trying to ignore it completely. This is another one of the dangerous yet common misconceptions about grief to dispel. People believe that ignoring or pushing away grief long enough will make it easier to deal with. The truth is that your grief will eventually catch up to you. The longer you ignore it, the more intense the feeling will be when you finally face it. Processing your emotions is a necessary part of finding peace. Instead of ignoring feelings of grief, find safe and constructive ways to work through these emotions so that you can eventually accept your grief and continue to lead a satisfying life.
At Soulistic Hospice, we know how important it is to understand grief. That’s why we offer grief counseling in Tucson for loved ones of hospice patients. By connecting individuals to a bereavement coordinator who can help them find resources and support, we make sure our patients’ loved ones get the help they need.