Every single one of us right now is grieving the loss of normalcy.
- We’re grieving the cancelation of our spring plans.
- We’re grieving the inability to see friends and family, to celebrate birthdays and major life milestones like prom and graduations.
- We’re grieving whole lot of activities and events that fill our lives with meaning.
- We’re grieving the deaths of people we knew and loved.
The #1 best thing you can do for people who are grieving is to not sugarcoat their reality.
This too shall pass VS paying attention
No matter how much you believe it, you shouldn’t tell people who are grieving that “Everything is going to be OK.” Or that, “This is all happening for a greater purpose.” Or that, “You’ll find love again.”
These are called platitudes, and they don’t help. What they do, instead, is prove to the griever that you weren’t listening, and they reinforce to the person grieving the thought that they are in this alone.
This is what so many of us are feeling right now as we are told to find gratitude in the little things, to notice how nature is coming back, to appreciate the time we get to spend with the ones we are quarantined with.
These might all be truths. It may help to find gratitude in the small things. The climate is certainly helped by our mass human slow down. The people we are quarantining with are our everything.
…and this still sucks.
That is the phrase that people who are grieving report helps them the most, to hear other people say, “This really sucks.” No apology. No talk of the future. No fix.
This just sucks.
And this pandemic does, and all of us need to collectively hear one another say it.
We all need to be given the permission to truly grieve; to have our pain at the loss of what we expected to be heard and seen.
- We need more leaders to tell their team: “This sucks.”
- We need more parents to admit to their kids: “This sucks.”
- We need more influencers to say it on their platforms: “This sucks.”
And, we need to all say it a little more to each other, because what’s amazing about recognizing the current moment and holding space for a rightful emotion is that it allows that emotion to move on. It signals to our brains that, yes, this experience is real. Yes, this isn’t what I wanted. Yes, this sucks. But, it’s OK, I can do this.
Giving grief a voice
Hustle culture won’t help here.
False or forced peace, positivity, or gratitude won’t help here.
Working from home mentalities won’t even help here.
And that’s because we aren’t just working hard from home, trying to be grateful for what we have. We are working hard from home trying to be grateful for what we have during a global pandemic.
Before any of us can move into the mindset of healing that works best for each of us, we first really need to hear how much this sucks, and that it’s OK to grieve what we’ve lost, and what we might lose even more soon.
They say that optimists are not those who ignore the reality, but instead, those who see the reality, can find a path forward, a silver lining. None of us can be optimists without first acknowledging the hard cloud that hangs over us. And it’s so simple to do. It takes only two words. And I encourage you to say them outloud often to yourself, to your friends and family: “This sucks.”
Hold the space for grief. Let it knock at your door, and come in for a cup of coffee. Give it the attention it deserves. Treat it like the guest it is. This too shall pass, but first, it’s going to continue to really, really suck.
With all the being said here are:
Sit back and think, before you take any action.
When a disaster strikes, we have a habit of cursing our life, “Why did this happen to me?” Our plans get affected, and we are only left cribbing about the problems. When we react with this state of mind, we don’t solve anything but rather add more trouble. We hurriedly make decisions without thinking pros and cons and then regret it later. Try to avoid this from happening, by taking some time off to calm yourself and then facing the situation with a positive state of mind. This way you would use your strengths and do what best you could do.
Don’t focus on troubles, but your goal.
Obstacles are only distractions and to keep your attitude intact, you must focus on your goal. See what would come after you overcome all the troubles that exist. No journey is as easy as you’d want it to be. So, keep looking straight and keep your goal as your main priority. On the side note, you can figure out solutions for problems one by one. As they say, life is about learning how to dance in the rain and not waiting for the rain to stop.
Think about the solutions and not problems.
Similarly, being positive is about figuring out the solutions instead of problems. When times are difficult, we tend to dwell on the problems rather than working towards the solution. Our mind is occupied by useless questions similar to “Why this happened to me?” or “How come it’s been so bad!” while you should think “How to rectify the problem?” Get opinions from people around you and spend time talking about solutions. Don’t crib to your friends about what happened but ask them advice on how could you overcome it.
Get some encouragement; the minute things go down.
When we start worrying, we tend to worry more each day. Which is why it is a good idea to connect with your friends who would encourage you to keep working on your goal. Read about successful people or pick up a good book. Spend some time rejuvenating, even if it was a failure. Then, it would be easier to start again with a positive state of mind. You’d power up your attitude after you experience something good in your life.
Have a strong control over your thoughts.
Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in your life, think about what’s good. When times are low, you must count your blessings and feel happy about what you have. Not because it would make the problem go away, but you would attain some peace and satisfaction and get the courage to start over. You must know how not to let any negative thought trouble you. If you have the power to control your thoughts, nothing in life can affect you deeply.