When we have problems or there are things troubling us, there is no shortage of people who are willing to offer suggestions and advice. Without doubt, your friends and family want you to feel better as quickly as possible but chances are, even though they mean well, they really aren’t sure what to say or do to be of help.
There are a number of things to keep in mind whether you are grieving an important loss in your life or helping someone else through a difficult time.
One very important thing to remember is people will do things when they are ready and not when we are ready for them to make changes.
Even though you may think you know what the grieving person needs to do, there really is no value in you pushing them, or doing things for them that rush them along. Patience is a very important part of the healing, adapting, and learning process.
My mom just needs to get rid of dad’s clothes. She is surrounded by his things, the sooner she gives them away or throws them out the sooner she can get on with her life.
My friend has been at home alone and sad for too long. She needs to get out and socialize. Meeting new people will help her feel better.
All my sister does is keep talking about her life with her husband. If she would let it go and move on to spending time with the living instead of the dead, she would recover and realize that life has so much to offer.
Even though all of these concerns likely come from a good place, a place of wanting the one who is sad to get over their sadness and feel better, we must resist deciding what others need. Rushing the person, who feels lost, will not bring their pain to an end quicker.
Try and stay supportive and patient while offering opportunities to the person who is sad. When they are ready, it is very likely they will be able to leave yesterday behind and see a different tomorrow for themselves.
Until then, if you push too hard, even for the “right reasons”, you will cause your friend or family member to withdraw and they may feel that you don’t understand. You may cause them to feel like they have to make a change for you, when they aren’t ready.
Sometimes the person who is heartbroken will do what is asked of them out of a feeling of guilt. They become convinced they must be doing something “wrong” and force themselves to hurry their feelings and recovery time. Moving on before they are ready is only living a lie that in time will backfire.
The person who feels forced, may regress, and they may feel resentment towards you for pushing and rushing.
Try to remember when it comes to your pain and your situation, so many people are experts and seem to know what you need more than you do. Ask for their patience and if possible, teach them you want to move on, you’re just not there yet.
Try to remember the hurrying may be about the discomfort others feel around your pain and sorrow. Even though your feelings and reactions to your loss are necessary, watching you hurt is very difficult for those who care about you.
A little communication by all involved will go a long way to helping everyone. The person who is grieving can help those who want to be of assistance understand what it’s like to be sad, and those looking on and feeling helpless can share how difficult it is to watch someone they care about struggle.