When we have problems or there are things troubling us, there are no shortage of people who are very willing to offer suggestions and advice.
Your friends and family want very much for you to feel better as quickly as possible. Chances are, they mean well but really aren’t sure what to say or do to be of help.
There are a number of things that need to be kept in mind whether you are grieving an important loss in your life or if you are helping someone through a difficult time.
One very important thing to remember is that people will do things when they are ready and not when we are ready for them to make changes.
Even though you may think that you know what the grieving person needs to do, there really is no value in you telling them, or doing things for them, that rush them along.
Patience is a very important part of the healing, adapting, and learning process.
I often hear from people who want to be helpful.
My mom just needs to get rid of dad’s clothes. She is surrounded by his things, the sooner that she gives them away or throws them out the sooner she can get on with her life.
My friend has been at home alone 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.
I’m sure you get the idea. 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, feel better and get on with their lives, we must resist making decisions for them. Rushing the person, who feels lost, through their feelings, will not bring their pain to an end quicker.
Try and stay supportive and patient while offering opportunities to the person who is sad. In time, when they are ready, it is very likely that they will be able to leave yesterday behind and see a different tomorrow for themselves.
Until then, however, if you push too hard, even for the right reasons, you will cause your friend or family member to withdraw and 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.
I remember a family where the children felt that their mother had spent too much time grieving, living in the past and not getting on with her life. One day while their mother was out, the three adult children gathered up almost all physical things connected to their father and removed them from their mother’s home. When she returned home and realized what had happened she was devastated and angry. She wasn’t ready to give up her connection to her husband’s clothing, his belongs or in this case even to his “special chair”. Now besides still grieving, she had to deal with more loss and with her feelings of being betrayed and abandoned by her family.
Sometimes the person who is heart broken will do what is asked of them out of a feeling of guilt. They become convinced that they must be doing something “wrong” and force themselves to hurry their feelings and recovery time.
To try and move on before they are ready is only living a lie that in time will backfire. It will have the person who has felt forced, regress, and may cause them to feel resentment towards you for pushing and rushing.
Try to remember that 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 that you want to move on; you’re just not there yet.
Try to remember that the hurry may be about their discomfort with your pain and sorrow. Remember that even though your feelings and reactions to your pain are necessary, watching you hurt is very difficult for those who care about you.
A little communication by all people 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 very sad, and those looking on and feeling helpless can share how difficult it is to watch someone they care about struggle.